Understanding Spinal Arthritis

Arthritis is an elegant way of saying inflammation of a joint


There are three basic types of Arthritis: Automimmune, Metabolic, and Osteoarthritis.

  1. Autoimmune Arthritis, the most well known is rheumatoid arthritis, as well as psoriatic arthritis which is associated with psoriasis of the skin. There is an autoimmune disease called ankylosing spondylitis, and this can cause low back pain, stiffness and sciatica.

  2. Metabolic Arthritis is another type of arthritis, and Gout is an example of this. It is a condition where a person cannot process purines which are found in high amounts in things like salmon, red meat and red wine — it use to be known as the rich man’s arthritis. If your uric acid is high this can lead to your body producing uric acid crystals that can deposit in any joint or tissue in your body, but most commonly it’s found in the big toe or foot. 

  3. Osteoarthritis of the Spine is the last and most common type of arthritis, which is generally considered a wear and tear arthritic break down of joints. However, we see a strong correlation in our practice with this type of arthritis and gastrointestinal issues leading to leaky gut. This kind of arthritic joint pain can be referred to as osteoarthritis of the spine or degenerative disc disease (DDD), and can be caused by eating the wrong kinds of inflammatory foods, leading to stiffness and low back pain. Patients typically complain of a chronic aching nagging neck or low back pain, but this type of arthritis if neglected can lead to severe pain and disability causing even arm and leg weakness.


When looking at the spine on an x-ray or an MRI, a doctor will frequently tell you that you have Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD). While, technically speaking, DDD is not an arthritis, it is spoken about as if it is. DDD as it is commonly called is a breakdown of the discs in between your vertebrae, and because they are broken down and not distributing weight properly, your spine may respond by loading the joints at the back of the spine called facet joints too heavily. The facet joints may hypertrophy or enlarge because they weren’t designed to bear the weight of your body, but rather to guide and limit motion. So when these joints have to deal with the stress of your body weight, the irritation seen on an MRI or x-ray can lead a doctor to tell you that you have arthritis. When these joints become inflamed or enlarged they can cause or contribute to a narrowing of the neuro-foramina, the area where nerve exit the spine called stenosis, and this can lead to sciatic nerve pain.


Are having sciatic nerve pain or have symptoms of leg pain and numbness due to an arthritic condition? Are you wondering what’s at the root cause of your pain? It’s time to call us about getting an accurate diagnosis for your pain.


Treatment for Arthritis

Truly, one of the most effective means of treating a degenerative disc disease and other arthritic conditions of the spine is Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression. Decompression can re-create the normal pumping action of the disc that creates osmosis and imbibition. It also allows us to rehydrate the disc and bring nutrients into the disc to help it heal and restore normal function to the disc reducing and eliminating the pain caused by a degenerated disc as well as relieve the pressure on overloaded facet joints. A disc is a ligament and ligaments have poor to no blood supply. That is why a sprain will heal slower than a fracture. A broken bone has a rich blood supply to allow it to heal, not so with ligaments. The beauty of non-surgical spinal decompression is that it helps to give the discs the nutrients it needs to heal itself. In addition, we do many other therapies designed to improve strength and mobility to your spine hips and neck to reduce the likelihood of re-injury, as well as look at you metabolically to make sure you are doing everything you can to reduce overall inflammation that is contributing to your joint and back pain.


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