Almost everyone will develop spinal arthritis at some point in their life, but the degree to which symptoms present greatly varies. In some cases, there are no symptoms at all. In others, symptoms can be severe or even debilitating. In order to determine the severity of spinal arthritis and then come up with an effective treatment program, an orthopedic spine specialist follows the three-step process outlined below.
Step 1: Taking a Detailed Medical History
A detailed history can identify the cause of pain in many cases. A proper history will review:
- Symptoms (pain, burning, weakness, numbing)
- Medical history (accidents, injuries, diabetes)
- Social history (smoking, alcohol intake, age)
- Family history
Throughout the history, a specialist obtains information that helps during the physical examination.
Step 2: A Thorough Physical Examination
A thorough physical examination evaluates the area of the spine that is most likely the source of pain. Related spinal nerves are also examined to determine if they may be impinged or compressed. Range of motion and nerve function are key factors that help determine the severity of arthritis.
Step 3: Ordering Imaging Studies
Imaging studies allow the specialist to visualize the spine and the spinal arthritis as well as confirm the findings of the history and exam. The following are used:
- CT Scan
Any combination, or all of these studies give a specialist the information they need to make a final diagnosis.
Treating Spinal Arthritis
Spinal arthritis treatment measures vary, which is why an accurate diagnosis is so important. Mild arthritis can be easily treated using over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. Moderate arthritis may require the use of prescription medications, spinal injections and/or physical therapy. Severe arthritis may require surgical intervention.
Contacting an Orthopedic Spine Specialist
Treating spinal arthritis early is key to slowing down the progression of symptoms. If you’re experiencing spine pain, burning, weakness, or numbness, please give us a call. One of our orthopedic spine specialists will assess and treat your condition.
The spine specialists at New Jersey Spinal Medicine and Surgery treat conditions of the cervical and lumbar spine using both non-surgical and surgical modalities. New Jersey Spinal Medicine and Surgery is led by Dr. Dante Implicito and Dr. John Koerner and has offices in Glen Rock and Maywood, NJ. Both physicians have extensive training and experience in the utilization of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery techniques as well as non-surgical techniques.