Back pain, in general, is so common you may not give much thought to it if it’s only an occasional annoyance. But if your spine-related aches and pains are becoming increasingly disruptive to your daily life, it’s time to find out what’s going on. One possibility is spinal arthritis. While you won’t know for sure if this is the case until you get an official diagnosis from your doctor or Los Angeles spine surgeon, there are some signs that suggest your back pain may be caused by spinal arthritis. Here are four of them.
Back pain from an injury, such as overstressed muscles near your spine, will gradually decrease as tissues heal. However, pain linked to spinal arthritis tends to get worse over time. This is because it stems from ongoing degeneration, which will only continue to occur if there’s nothing being done to actively slow its progression.
It’s normal to have some degree of back stiffness if you sleep in an awkward position or get up after sitting in the same position for a long time. With spinal arthritis, you may feel stiffness in your back even after short periods of inactivity. This can happen as worn or damaged joints reduce spinal flexibility. Discomfort of this nature does have the potential to respond well to lifestyle adjustments that may involve:
• Improving your posture
• Eating foods that naturally ease inflammation
• Exercising in a way that safely strengthens spine-supporting muscle groups
It’s not unusual for the simple act of lying down to alleviate some types of back pain, as may be the case with discomfort caused by spinal disc problems. With spinal arthritis, lying down could place pressure on the affected joints as gravitational forces shift. If this is what’s going on, you may have difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep. In turn, a lack of sufficient sleep can make your symptoms more noticeable or contribute to entirely new issues with back pain. Once you seek professional input, you may be able to get your discomfort under control enough to get back to your regular sleep routine.
Arthritis, even when it starts in a fairly limited area of the spine, can still develop in other parts of the body. In some instances, this can happen because of spinal arthritis. For example, you might shift your weight more to one side as you walk to compensate for your back pain. Doing so could overstress your hip joints and hasten the degeneration associated with arthritis in those areas.
If you ignore signs of spinal arthritis, other areas of the body that may be affected by arthritis-related problems could include:
• Hips and knees
• Ankles or feet
• The neck area
Because many spine-related problems can produce similar symptoms, don’t automatically assume your discomfort is caused by spinal arthritis if you’re noticing any of the signs discussed above. What you can do is let your doctor or spine specialist know if anything discussed here applies to you so a more accurate diagnosis can be made.
If you have spinal arthritis or another condition causing pain in your neck or back, reach out to the spinal health pioneers at The Spine Institute. We specialize in fusion and non-fusion procedures such as XLIF surgery, spinal decompression, and coflex back surgery. Los Angeles patients should call 310-828-7757 today for an in-person consultation.