Patients Suffering Arthritis In Spine Seek Effective Pain Relief
Have you been experiencing chronic back or neck pain? You may be suffering from arthritis of the spine. Usually the result of normal wear and tear, this condition is most often seen in adults over 50, but can also occur at a much younger age from injury or overuse. Millions of Americans suffer from this painful condition, but it may not be necessary to live in pain. Effective, non-surgical treatment can provide significant long-term pain relief, enabling you to live a normal, active life.
Accurately diagnosing the source of pain
Arthritis of the spine develops in the small joints located between each vertebra called facet joints. As we age, the cartilage lining the joint surface can shrink and wear thin causing bone spurs and enlargement of the joint, which often leads to the inflammation and pain of arthritis.
Arthritis can occur anywhere in the spine from the neck to the lower back. Arthritis pain is often worse in the morning, when the weather changes, after overexertion or even after long periods of sitting. However, because these symptoms are not unique to arthritis it's important to identify the correct source of pain to successfully treat your problem.
Thorough diagnostic testing may include a technique called facet joint injection. Both therapeutic and diagnostic, this procedure enables physicians to precisely identify the exact origin of your pain. Using x-ray guidance (fluoroscopy), the physician is able to see and accurately target the affected joints with anti-inflammatory medication. Performed under local anesthesia, it offers the advantage of providing immediate feedback in confirming the source of your pain.
Achieving long-term pain relief without surgery
The facet joint injection is not only a precise diagnostic tool, it is also an effective therapy, providing substantial pain relief for several weeks, to months. Another proven method of treatment is radiofrequency denervation (RF). This technique desensitizes the nerve endings using heat therapy and can provide up to two years of pain relief.
Approved by Medicare and most insurances, these procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and generally take only 30 to 90 minutes. Proven to be safe and effective, this therapeutic approach offers the benefit of alleviating your pain without surgery, without general anesthesia, and without hospital stays or long recovery periods.
You don't need to live with pain from arthritis in your neck or back. Talk to a board-certified pain specialist about how you can return to a healthy, pain-free life.