MR Imaging of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s own immune system attacks the lining of the joints, called the synovium. Commonly seen around the neck, rheumatoid arthritis tends to affect more women than men.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are also available over-the-counter in certain strengths. Examples include aspirin, naproxen sodium (Aleve), and ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil). NSAIDs may have serious side effects. Those include heart attack, stroke, stomach irritation and bleeding, and less frequently, kidney damage.

In most cases, treatment of spinal osteoarthritis is geared toward relieving the symptoms of pain and increasing a person’s ability to function. The goal is to have a healthy lifestyle.

Spinal Arthritis: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

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Spinal Arthritis Photograph by Zephyr/science Photo Library

In certain types of spondyloarthritis, eye inflammation (iritis or uveitis) may occur, causing pain, watery eyes and blurred vision.

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Spondyloarthritis

Non-surgical treatments for spinal arthritis may involve the following:

Arthritis refers to inflammation of the joints. It is not a single disease, but instead comprises more than 100 types and can affect various parts of the body. Spinal arthritis describes the inflammation that occurs between the joints of the spine or the joints between the spine and the pelvis.

Diagnostic Imaging of Arthritis

The doctor may order certain tests to aid in the diagnosis of osteoarthritis of the spine. These tests include:

Including rest periods in the overall treatment plan is necessary. But bed rest, splints, bracing, or traction for long periods of time is not recommended.

Surgical treatment may be recommended if pain relief is not sufficiently achieved through non-surgical means. The goals of surgery are to decompress the spinal canal to release nerve roots from bone spurs or other tissues pressed on them and to stabilise the spine through a procedure called spinal fusion.

What does arthritis of the spine look like

Arthritis of the spine, X-ray

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How is spinal arthritis treated?

There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, and most of them may affect the back or neck. Although all arthritis leads to inflammation, arthritis is categorized as inflammatory and noninflammatory (degenerative) based on its origin.

Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative joint disease. It is a condition in which the protective cartilage that cushions the tops of bones degenerates, or wears down. This causes swelling and pain. It may also cause the development of osteophytes, or bone spurs.

Topical ointments and creams are also available to treat pain. They are applied to the skin in the area that hurts, but generally, these are not effective. Examples of topical drugs include Ben-Gay and Aspercreme.

Spinal Osteoarthritis (Degenerative Arthritis of the Spine)

Symptoms of Spinal Arthritis | Chronic Pain | Back Pain | Risk Factors

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of spinal arthritis, usually affecting the lower back. It occurs when the cartilage between the joints slowly breaks down due to injury, daily wear and tear, or other joint-related conditions, leading to inflammation and pain.

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Types of spinal arthritis

Your doctor may also recommend prescription drugs to treat symptoms, as there are no medications that reverse the process. These may include prescription painkillers, mild narcotics, or injections of corticosteroids around the spinal column called epidural steroid injections. It is important to understand that these injections do not correct the underlying problem and are sometimes used without clear indication of long-term benefit. Oral steroids are not commonly used.

The best way to confirm a diagnosis of osteoarthritis is by X-ray. The doctor will take a medical history and perform a physical exam to see if the person has pain, tenderness, loss of motion involving the neck or lower back, or if symptoms are suggestive, signs of nerve involvement such as weakness, reflex changes, or loss of sensation.

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