Types of arthritis in the spine

Written by kay miranda
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Arthritis in the spine is one of the most debilitating conditions you can experience. The inflammation in the spinal joints can lead to immobility, excruciating pain and nerve issues that weaken you arms and hands. There are several types of arthritis that affect the spine.


Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disc arthritis in the spine. It is often associated with calcium loss and age. Joints become stiff and experience pain as a result of stress from weight on the spine. Posture plays a major role in osteoarthritis as well as genetic factors. Osteoarthritis causes a biochemical weakness in the cartilage of the discs in the spine. Activity increases the pain while rest provides relief of symptoms. This condition can lead to a loss of motion range, muscle atrophy around the affected area and weakness.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a common and very serious condition. This arthritis may affect the spinal joints and is also an autoimmune form of arthritis that can seriously affect your long-term health if not treated properly. Rheumatoid arthritis affects 1 per cent of the population. In this condition, white blood cells become hyperactive and cause inflammation. Most of the damage may happen within the first year and can affect the brain and peripheral nervous system as well as many organs.

Polymyalgia Rheumatica

Polymyalgia rheumatica is an arthritic condition that affects people generally over the age of 50. This arthritis generally has symptoms of a stiff neck and shoulders. It may also work down toward the hips. It has no known cause. In the condition the joints become inflamed in the joint lining in an area called the synovial lining. Aches and pains generally start as morning stiffness and increase with inactivity. Fatigue, weight loss, depression and low-grade fevers may also be present.

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing Spondylitis is an autoimmune arthritis that affects the spine. It is initially housed in the sacroiliac joints around the buttocks and pelvis. Over time, it moves upward along the spine. Most people who have this condition were genetically predisposed to it and are mainly of Caucasian decent. This condition is very serious and can lead to spinal erosion and damage of the joints and bony bridging. This affects more women than men and is generally diagnosed between the ages of 15 to 30 years old.

Proper Diagnosis

Many of the symptoms of the various spine arthritis conditions are similar or the same. Stiffness, weakness, lack of mobility and fatigue seem common with all. If you are not properly diagnosed, you may be at risk for long-term damage beyond arthritic pain. Be sure to consult your doctor about all the possibilities based on family history, ethnic background and white blood cell counts to determine the correct diagnosis and therefore the proper treatment plan for you.

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