Back Arthritis:  Doctor Care and Self-Care

Arthritis is common in the U.S., with over 30 million Americans over the age of 40 suffering from osteoarthritis. This type of arthritis is also called degenerative joint disease. Just as the name implies, degenerative joint disease progresses throughout time, worsening unless steps are taken to intervene.

Types of Arthritis

There are other types of arthritis:

• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Metabolic arthritis, such as gout
• Fibromyalgia
• Psoriatic arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis often is a cause of back pain, but it’s usually found affecting the joints of the neck and the sacro-iliac joint.

Metabolic arthritis can cause pain anywhere in the body. In this disorder, crystals of oxalic acid or other substances are deposited in the joints, which can cause not only pain but also permanent damage to the joints they are affecting.

Although fibromyalgia is not officially classified as a type of arthritis, it is an arthritis-related condition. In this disorder, there is pain, stiffness, and tenderness at several points throughout the body, often accompanied by disability.  Although fibromyalgia doesn’t attack the joints directly, it does cause pain in the muscles, fascia (connective tissue), and tendons/ligaments.

Back Arthritis Causes

Osteoarthritis usually affects the back, neck, knees, hips, feet and fingers. One of the causes of this joint disorder is a previous injury to any of these body parts. If not completely healed, the joint can develop arthritis in the future.

This is why many professional athletes end up with severe cases of arthritis or degenerative joint disease later in life; their injuries to knees and hands “catch up to them” and they suffer the pain and stiffness of arthritis.

Osteoarthritis can also be found in the spine. Back arthritis causes include injuries such as whiplash, falls, and hitting one’s head against hard objects.

The easiest way to see whether or not you have degenerative joint disease is to have an x-ray taken. For example, if you have back pain and an x-ray is taken, then it’s possible to see calcifications called osteophytes on the bones of the spine that are causing the pain. These calcifications are one of the signs of back arthritis.

Other signs of back arthritis are:

• Decreased joint space, shown as “bone rubbing another bone”
• Bone cysts
• Joint remodeling
• Decreased height of the intervertebral disc
• Spinal canal stenosis
• Sometimes accompanying loss of bone density

Back Arthritis Relief

That’s enough of the bad news about arthritis; now it’s time for the good news. There really are a lot of things you can do to improve your back arthritis.

Here is a list of the top things that can relieve back arthritis: 

  1. Proper nutrition

If you are lacking certain vitamins and minerals, your body is more prone to develop back arthritis, and other forms of arthritis as well. The connection between degenerative joint disease and nutrient deficiencies has been known for decades.

The list of nutrients that are essential for good, healthy joints is long, but these are a few of the most important ones:

a) Silica – Found in low levels in almost all people, this element is one of the most important for connective tissue in your entire body. The easiest way to take silica is by mixing a few tablespoons of diatomaceous earth (food grade) into a glass of juice, milk or yogurt drinks. Many people benefit from this simple self-help trick that very few medical professionals know.

b) Vitamin D – Without vitamin D, your bones don’t feel well and they won’t look well on an x-ray. Vitamin D deficiency is estimated to affect close to 75% of the population, who have been taught that the sun is bad for one’s health. Not only is vitamin D good for the joints but it’s also important to prevent depression. Lack of this vitamin is linked with over 300 different diseases.

c) Pantothenic acid – This B vitamin has been clearly linked to joint disease when it’s found in deficiency levels. In animal studies, a deficiency causes joint changes seen in advanced cases of arthritis.

  1. Good chiropractic care – Spinal manipulation can restore the joint function temporarily which can start the return of health. Chiropractic care also may include dietary instructions, supplement recommendations, physical therapy or suggested exercises and tips on how to maintain good posture.
  1. Good posture – The worse your posture is, the more pressure you will put on the joints of your spine. The better your posture is, the more free movement you will be able to experience, along with less pressure on the joints and less joint pain. This means arthritis relief.
  1. Exercise – Working out with weights is important for everyone past the age of 18! Exercise keeps the joint fluid pumping through the joint, and it’s really one of the only ways to do this! More joint fluid pumping through the joint is equivalent to arthritis relief.
  1. Yoga – A series of yoga postures performed three or more times a week can do wonders for arthritis back pain. Many people have noticed arthritis relief in about six weeks.
  1. Heat – When you have osteoarthritis, you have a difficult time getting up in the morning because of the stiffness in your joints. A nice warm hot pack will help warm up the joints so that you can start your day on a good note.