Lumbar arthritis is an arthritis symptom, which affects the spine and is most commonly caused by osteoarthritis. Lumbar arthritis is another known as spinal arthritis, and it results from degenerative changes caused by osteoarthritis and inflammation of the lowest joints of the lumbar spine. It is a condition that begins to develop gradually, and many connect it with spinal degeneration in older people. It is a very common arthritis symptom. It is also believed to be a normal part of getting older; however, suffering from lumbar arthritis can lead to such pain and stiffness that the simplest activities, such as stretching and bending, are no longer possible.

What Are the Symptoms of Lumbar Arthritis?

The main symptom of lumbar arthritis is pain, which starts when you move or are inactive for a long time. Typically, it worsens when you sit upright for a long time or stand for a long time. It can also be painful to bend sideways or backward. The pain can be experienced from the center of the lower back, and it can expand to the pelvic area or sides of the buttocks. Sometimes patients also experience pain in the thighs, and in rare cases, the pain expands to the knees. Other symptoms that can be experienced include:

  • Muscle spasms;
  • Joint creaking;
  • Joint stiffness;
  • Lumbar spine mobility deficit.

At first, the symptoms might even go unnoticed, but as time passes, they slowly develop. Rapid movements, backward motions, or twisting can injure the lumbar area even more and worsen the severity of the symptoms.

What Causes Lumbar Arthritis?

Lumbar arthritis occurs in those who suffer from certain arthritic conditions. It is believed that the most common reason for lumbar arthritis is osteoarthritis. Those who suffer from osteoarthritis might also experience persistent damage to the joints of the spine. With time, these joints wear away, and due to this, the spines begin to grind and push together every time you move. Osteoarthritis inflammation can be caused by external factors, being overweight, genetics, and a poor diet.

Psoriatic arthritis is also linked to lumbar arthritis. People who have psoriatic arthritis are also likely to begin experiencing pain in the lower back. Typically, there is a bony overgrowth present, which leads to the fusion of the vertebrae, which can cause great pain and stiffness.

Spondyloarthritis is a condition that can affect adults, teenagers, and children as well, and at first, it only involves the sacroiliac joints, but later the spine as well. It is a very rare and very painful type of arthritis.

Enteropathic arthritis is a condition that is present in people who suffer from inflammatory bowel conditions, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. It affects the sacroiliac joints, which can lead to back pain as well in the lower area of the spine. The sacroiliac joints are found between the sacrum and the bones of the pelvis and are mainly supported by the spine, which is why the pain can start in the back.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that can affect different joints in the body, which includes the facet joints of the spine. It can be painful, and although the lower back is also affected, the pain primarily begins in the upper neck area.

Osteoporosis is a condition that can lead to loss of bone mass and makes the bones brittle and prone to injury, even after small traumas. When the spine is affected, the inner spongy and more solid outer parts of the vertebrae get weaker and begin to hurt with time. Lumbar arthritis is related to osteoporosis, and patients who have osteoporosis are also more likely to experience lumbar back pain.

How Is Lumbar Arthritis Diagnosed?

To diagnose lumbar arthritis, your doctor will first do a physical examination. Imaging studies, such as X-rays might also be needed. Your doctor will also ask you questions about your symptoms and check whether you have a reduced range of motion in the lower back. You must inform your doctor about the severity of your pain, what type of pain you experience, when it gets worse or better, since when it started, and what you were doing around the time you first began to experience this type of pain.

How Is Lumbar Arthritis Treated?

To treat lumbar arthritis, your doctor will prescribe you over-the-counter pain medication, which can help to ease your pain. In some cases, you might also need to make some lifestyle changes. Such changes might include losing weight, quitting smoking, eating healthily, adding inflammation-reducing foods to your diet, limiting your alcohol consumption, and exercising. When suffering from lumbar arthritis, water therapy and abdominal strengthening are highly recommended. When over-the-counter pain medication no longer works, you might get prescription pain medication to help you manage your pain. Some alternative therapies are available that your doctor will recommend to you before considering surgery as the last possible treatment option.

Alternative treatments include manipulation, massages, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulations. During manipulation, a chiropractor or another trained professional will adjust the spine, which can help reduce the pain and properly align the spine. Massages can also help to improve circulation, to reduce muscle spasms and muscle tension, and help those who suffer from pain due to lumbar arthritis.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is a non-invasive therapy that uses small electricity amounts to help reduce the sensitivity of the nerves surrounding the spine. It is an outpatient procedure, or, in some cases, the patient can do the procedure at home with instructions on how to properly do so.

Can You Prevent Lumbar Arthritis?

There are some precautions that you need to take to prevent lumbar arthritis and many other conditions. These precautions include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight;
  • Eating a healthy diet;
  • Exercising regularly;
  • Lifting correctly to reduce the risk of an injury;
  • Practicing good posture;
  • Wearing proper shoes;
  • Properly supporting the lower back;
  • Quitting smoking.

The expertly trained team of TRI Physical Therapy will help you establish an appropriate preventive plan tailored to your specific needs.

Our physical therapy doctors at TRI Physical Therapy have years of experience serving those affected by different arthritis types. We create the most appropriate and highly individualized treatment plans for each of our patients to help them regain complete functionality and live happier lives. To contact us today, reach out to our clinic located in Brooklyn, NY, or use our convenient online booking system.

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