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See a WellStar physician right away if your back pain is severe, flares up after a fall or injury or your symptoms also include:

  • Fever or unexplained weight loss
  • Pain or numbness in legs

  • Pain and difficulty urinating
  • Weakness in one or both legs

"An estimated 46 million adults in the United States some form of arthritis. Osteoarthritis – the most common form of arthritis affecting more than 27 million adults – is the most common type of neck and back arthritis."

*Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Neck & Back Arthritis Treatment

Treatment of arthritis will depend on the type of arthritis, its severity, and your overall health. A number of different WellStar specialists might be involved in your arthritis care. The goal is to treat all aspects of arthritis pain, increase joint mobility and strength and help you learn to manage pain.

Conservative treatment is always attempted first. Weight loss may go a long way to reducing stress on the joint and easing pain. Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as Alleve®), physiotherapy, activity modification, ambulatory assistive devices, braces and corticosteroid injections are common conservative treatment options.

In its early stages, arthritis of the neck and back is treated with non-surgical measures:

  • Lifestyle modifications can include losing weight, switching from running or jumping exercises to swimming or cycling, and minimizing activities that aggravate the condition, such as climbing stairs. Simple weight loss can reduce stress on weight bearing joints and result in reduced pain and increased function.
  • Exercises can help increase range of motion and flexibility as well as help strengthen the muscles in the leg. Physical therapy and exercise are often effective in reducing pain and improving function. Your physician or a physical therapist can help develop an individualized exercise program that meets your needs and lifestyle.
  • Supportive devices, such as braces and corsets, can be helpful for short-term back arthritis pain relief.
  • Other measures may include applications of heat or ice, water exercises, liniments or elastic bandages. Warming tissues eases arthritis pain by increasing blood flow to affected areas. Cold packs or ice packs reduce swelling and slow the transmission of pain signals through nerves.

Neck & Back Arthritis Surgery

Surgery is an option when more conservative treatments for neck and back arthritis don’t ease pain and disability.

Your WellStar physician may recommend surgery to enlarge the spinal column to relieve pressure on the nerve roots. In a laminectomy, surgeons remove the lamina, or the portion of the vertebrae that shields the spinal cord. Surgeons may also remove bone spurs, formed as a result of neck and back osteoarthritis

Which Approach is Right for You?

We understand the thought of surgery can be overwhelming. That’s why your WellStar physician will help you decide the course of treatment that’s right for you. The physician will help you weigh the benefits of each treatment approach. You can feel confident your decision will be based on both your input and the expertise and recommendations of your experienced physician.