Arthritis is commonly thought of as a result of degeneration or wear and tear due to the ageing mechanism in the spine. But there can be different types of arthritis in the spine with different mechanism acting in the spine, wear and tear being one of the type.
In this blog we will discuss what is arthritis of the spine (neck & back) in simple terms, that can help you understand your back and neck arthritis pain and also the common type of arthritis seen in the spine.
Arthritis is commonly seen in the neck and back, but not so common in the midback. The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis or OA of the spine. This involves wear and tear or degeneration of the spine. This leads to break down of the cartilage, i.e. the protective covering on the bone that forms the spinal joints. This leads to aches and pains which is known as osteoarthritis of the spine. The same mechanism causes OA in the knee joints. You can find more details on spinal degeneration in this video:
As OA starts off as a mechanical problem, bending forwards or twisting of the spine gets more painful as the condition progresses. If you have had past injuries, fractures or trauma to your spine, you are more prone to developing OA later in life.
The next type of arthritis seen in the spine is Rheumatoid arthritis. You may have heard of rheumatoid arthritis in the small joints in the hands, but it is also quite common in the small joints in your spine, especially your neck. Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto immune condition where our immune system starts to attack the synovium (covering on the joints) rather than attacking the pathogens (viruses, bacteria etc) that it is supposed to. This leads to inflammation and pain in the spine. Rheumatoid arthritis can be a very painful condition, specially when it occurs in the neck.
Another type of arthritis is Ankylosing Spondylitis. This condition also causes inflammation in the spine and it can be a very debilitating as it progresses. The vertebra get fused together and spine starts loose its mobility. All movements such as bending forwards, backwards, sideways, etc become restricted and very painful.
This is a broad outline that there are common types of arthritis in the spine.If you want to learn more about easy ways to manage your back pain and sciatica, join my free community where we discuss this and similar topics in a judgement free friendly group.
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