Lumbar Arthritis

Arthritis of the spine is called spondylosis.  It differs from arthritis in other joints because of the effect on the discs between the vertebra, not just the small facet joints that are in pairs between two vertebrae.  It is important to understand that arthritis does not mean pain.  It is really just a wearing process which, in some people causes pain, and in others there is no pain.  People with spondylosis may get pain sometimes and not at others.  Physio treatment is aimed at settling pain flare-ups from your spondylosis.

Lumbar spondylosis schematic

In the spine, arthritis is called spondylosis because it affects the discs as well as the joints

What it feels like

Spondylosis does not have to cause pain.  If you get pain, it is usually from the lower part of the back but it can, at times, affect the higher lumbar areas.  Symptoms usually relate to one main structure that is the primary pain source, such as a facet joint.  Occasionally, more generalised arthritis can cause pressure on to the spinal cord. This is called spinal stenosis.  Because the spondylosis may result in pressure on the nerves going to the leg, leg symptoms are possible.  This may not be pain, just numbness or pins and needles.  More advanced sponylosis will certainly cause stiffness in the spine and may alter your posture with a scoliosis or, commonly, a flattening of the lumbar lordosis.

Man standing holding his back

The outward appearance doesn’t tell you what degeneration is occuring in the spine

What can you do

Once you get pain from your sponylosis it is wise to learn how to reduce the risk of the problem coming back again.  Even though these problems often come and go, the risk of recurrence is high.  Taking the usual precautions related to back pain, watching your posture, not overloading the back when doing activities and using specific execises will all help.

Hydrotherapy class

Hydrotherapy is a great, safe way of getting general and specific spinal exercise

What WE can do

Most sponylosis is quite treatable with a combination of mobilisation, acupuncture, exercise and possibly some massage.  This treatment will usually settle completely, or at least improve, an episode of pain.  However, critical to minimising the risk of recurrence is getting advice from us on what you should do.  Remember, arthritis/spondylosis is treatable.  You should not be stuck with the pain.

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