Spinal arthritis (also known as spinal osteoarthritis or spondylosis) is a degenerative condition that affects the facet joints of the spine. It is a condition that usually develops as a result of the normal aging process and is typically diagnosed in individuals 45-50 years old or older.
Your doctor may recommend conservative spinal stenosis treatment options as a first step to alleviate the associated symptoms. These options might include physical therapy, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroid injections, or even back or neck bracing. Some people believe that alternative treatments, such as acupuncture, can help relieve pain through amore natural, holistic approach, but the efficacy of such therapies is still debated amongst members of the medical community.
What is Acupuncture?
When the spinal canal becomes blocked or narrowed, the condition is referred to as spinal stenosis. Back pain can develop if the narrowing increases pressure in the spinal column and leads to the squeezing or pinching of the spinal cord and/or its nerve roots. Nerve compression can cause pain at the pinched location. Muscle weakness, numbness, tingling, burning, cramping, spasms, and pain may also radiate across the lower back and down through the hips, buttocks, legs, and feet.
Thoracic vs. Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
Spinal arthritis causes are not entirely understood. What is known is that spinal arthritis, or spinal osteoarthritis, is marked by the erosion of the rubbery, smooth, protective cartilage that lines the joints. This leads to the inflammation, swelling, and stiffening of joints within the spine. These joints, known as facet joints, begin to wear down over time. As cartilage thins, the bony portions of the vertebrae can begin to grind together. This can irritate nerve endings within the joint and can eventually lead to the development of osteophytes (bone spurs).
A fairly common source of lower back pain in middle-aged people is degenerative disc disease. While it isn’t actually a disease, disc degeneration is a condition that affects everyone with age, but some people experience more pain due to the degeneration than others.