Arthritis and Back Pain

Arthritis, broken down by its Latin terms, mains inflammation of the joint (rather-joint and its-inflammation). And really that is what arthritis is, an inflammation or painful medical condition involving the joints. Arthritis is not caused by one type of disease, or is always a result of wear and tear, but is actually a group of conditions involving damage to the joints of the body. The problem is most commonly a result of wear and tear of the structures that protect the ends of our bones, but may also be due to congenital conditions or even infectious disease. Most of these conditions do not target one typical joint or group of joints in the body, thought the weight bearing bones and joints are more likely to be affected. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, but there are over 100 other forms of arthritis. The back Is particularly susceptible to arthritis and back pain, because of our unique posture and spinal alignment, and because there are so many joints in our spine. Our spine is commonly affected by arthritis, because it is made up of 48 joints; and because it must withstand compression even when we are not moving (e.g. sitting or standing). Our spine may be affected by disease, congenital disorders, or wear and tear. Here is some of the types of arthritis that may be involved in your back pain.



Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis, and it is the most common reason why we feel joint pain and stiffness as we get older. Some of us are more affected by OA than others, possibly as a result of an old injury, the quality of our diet throughout a lifetime, or because of the type of jobs we had. OA is also known as degenerative arthritis, and it in fact involves a degeneration of the joints at the end of our bones that aid movement and prevent friction. Osteoarthritis occurs when the joint cartilage (the tough, smooth connective tissue that covers the ends of bones where they meet) wears down. As the cartilage wears, bone spurs (bony growths) may develop on the surface of bones and begin to thicken. Bone spurs may develop of the vertebral bones of the spine as a result of arthritis. Bone spurs associated with osteoarthritis are commonly found on the lumbar facet joints.

Osteoarthritis does not affect all people the same way. If you were to observe an X-Ray of 100 people picked at random, 30 or more of them may have spinal abnormalities such as disk degeneration or spurs, though half of them may not experience any back pain. Osteoarthritis of the spine may or not be painful. And for the people who do suffer OA related arthritis, they may not experience symptoms the same way. For some, the stiffness and pain may be worse at the end of a day or work day. In others, there may be a lot of achiness and stiffness when first waking, and they may feel their back loosen and get more comfortable as the day goes on.

Other primary forms of arthritis include Ankylosing spondylitis, Still's Disease, pseudo gout and gout, and Septic arthritis.