More than 32.5 million American adults have osteoarthritis. Although there are more than 100 different types of arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most common type, and it primarily affects people over age 60.
Osteoarthritis is often called wear-and-tear arthritis because it develops when the cartilage in your joints breaks down due to years of use. Without cartilage, the bones in your joints grind against each other and cause pain, stiffness, and swelling.
Unfortunately, osteoarthritis can affect almost any joint in your body — from small joints in your fingers to large joints like your hips. One of the most common places for arthritis is your spine, and it’s a leading cause of chronic back pain and neck pain for many older adults.
Finding effective relief for spinal arthritis pain isn’t easy. But as a leading pain specialist in Smithtown and West Islip, New York, Eric Fanaee, MD, offers a range of pain management solutions. If you’re bothered by the symptoms of arthritis in your spine, it’s time to learn more about treatment with epidural injections.
Understanding spinal arthritis
Your spine is made of stacked vertebral bones that have cushioning vertebral discs between them. A joint, called a facet joint, connects each bone to the next one. The nerves of your spinal cord pass through your facet joints, connecting your brain to the rest of your body.
When you have spinal arthritis, one or more of your facet joints gets inflamed. The cartilage in the facet joints breaks down, and bones start rubbing together. Your vertebral discs may also start deteriorating — a condition known as degenerative disc disease.
Spinal arthritis pain may be worse when you bend and twist but dissipate with rest. It’s a progressive condition, so your symptoms may continue to worsen as the joint deteriorates. Often, spinal arthritis is a source of chronic pain.
Arthritis can affect any joint in your spine, but it’s most common in your lower back (lumbar spine) and your neck (cervical spine). When it develops in your neck, it’s called cervical spondylosis.
Most of the time, spinal arthritis symptoms are due to osteoarthritis. However, rheumatoid arthritis and other types of arthritis can also develop in your spine.
Managing your arthritis pain with epidural injections
There’s no cure for spinal arthritis. However, treatment can reduce pain, improve mobility, and increase your quality of life. Dr. Fanaee and our team specialize in nonsurgical and minimally invasive pain management techniques, and we’re here to help you find relief.
Some people find that noninvasive treatments are effective for spinal arthritis. Dr. Fanaee may recommend a combination of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), physical therapy, and lifestyle changes to help you manage your symptoms.
If you have severe pain in your back, neck, arms, or legs due to spinal arthritis, Dr. Fanaee may suggest epidural injections. Epidurals combine a local anesthetic with a stronger corticosteroid medication — administered directly into your spine.
Getting an epidural for spinal arthritis is an outpatient procedure. Dr. Fanaee makes the injection using fluoroscopic-guided imaging to find the exact area that’s affected by the arthritis. The local anesthetic offers immediate pain relief, and the corticosteroid begins working within three days.
Epidurals offer an effective solution for arthritis pain by suppressing pain signals and minimizing inflammation in your spine. The pain relief you experience with an epidural may last from several days to several months. If you’re happy with the results, talk to Dr. Fanaee about repeating the procedure once the effects begin to fade.
Epidural injections could be the answer for your spinal arthritis pain. Contact our team online, or call 631-265-2020 to schedule your consultation.