Spinal Osteoarthritis Treatments
Treatment for spinal osteoarthritis ranges from OTC medications to surgery.
Once your doctor has diagnosed you with spondylosis—and determined how advanced it is—he or she will develop a treatment plan for you. While osteoarthritis can’t be cured, it is possible to slow down the progression of osteoarthritis. Treatment will also help you manage your symptoms.
Some typical treatments for spondylosis are:
- complementary and alternative treatments: Some patients have found relief with acupuncture, massage, or herbal supplements. Before trying any alternative treatment, even an herbal supplement, discuss it with your doctor.
- exercise: Low-impact exercise (swimming or biking, for example) can help strengthen your muscles that support your spine, which can reduce your pain. Exercise can also increase your flexibility, which is something you can gradually lose in osteoarthritis.
- medications: Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, may help you. Or your doctor may prescribe something stronger, such as codeine, to help with the pain. The important thing is to follow your doctor’s instructions exactly when taking any medication.
- physical therapy: A physical therapist can help you maintain mobility, teach you how to reduce your pain, and give you exercises that will strengthen your spinal muscles.
- rest: Rest actually is a treatment option. If you’re experiencing a painful flare-up, taking it easy for a day or so may help. However, you don’t want to remain inactive too long because the joints can become more painful then.
- spinal injections: Your doctor may recommend an epidural steroid injection, which sends very powerful anti-inflammatories straight to the area of inflammation. Another injection sometimes used for spondylosis is a facet joint injection.
- surgery: Spine surgery is rarely required for spondylosis. However, if spondylosis is affecting your bowel or bladder function, or if your spine has become unstable because of the spinal osteoarthritis, then your doctor may suggest surgery. The surgeon will make the best recommendation for the type of surgery, but make sure you fully understand your surgical options and what will happen to you.
- weight loss: Carrying extra weight puts more strain on your spine, so if you are overweight, your doctor may recommend weight loss as a way to decrease your spondylosis pain.
Spondylosis, or spinal osteoarthritis, causes many changes to your spine, and it can be a painful spine condition. However, with proper treatment, you can reduce your pain.