Beejal Y. Amin MD

The Link Between Arthritis and Spinal Stenosis

Sep 01, 2023

The Link Between Arthritis and Spinal Stenosis

If you have spinal arthritis, you might need to watch out for spinal stenosis or narrowing of the spinal canal. Here’s what you need to know about the connection between these two conditions.

Forms of arthritis like osteoarthritis impact the health of joints around your body. That can involve the small joints in your spine! Spinal arthritis can cause several types of spinal issues, including spinal stenosis or narrowing of the spinal canal. This can result in symptoms of pain and spinal dysfunction.

Expert neurosurgeon Dr. Beejal Y. Amin understands the connection between arthritis and spinal stenosis and can help you comprehend it, too. Dr. Amin provides spinal stenosis services from his practice locations in Oak Lawn, South Holland, and Orland Park, Illinois.

Arthritis and spinal stenosis

Osteoarthritis is a leading cause of spinal stenosis, especially in adults aged 50 or older. Here’s what happens to your spinal joints in this situation.

Osteoarthritis wears away at the small vertebral bones that make up your spine. Because your spine contains multiple vertebrae that all join together, you have a lot of spinal joints. As osteoarthritis takes its toll on your spinal bones, the overall damage to your spine becomes more significant.

If you develop spinal stenosis as a result of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, your spinal canal can’t continue to keep its correct shape due to degenerative changes. The spinal canal starts to collapse inward, becoming narrower and potentially pinching or irritating major nerves.

Spinal stenosis symptoms

Spinal stenosis most commonly results in back or neck pain, often related to the area of your spine where degeneration worsens. You could also experience sensations like numbness, tingling, or burning or notice unusual areas of muscle weakness.

If spinal stenosis affects your lower spine, you may have problems with walking and mobility.

Some people with spinal stenosis don’t have any symptoms at all. But, the underlying issue with your spine, as well as your arthritis, should still be addressed through the right treatment plan.

Dr. Amin assesses treatments for your spinal stenosis, as well as for arthritis that’s the underlying cause of the condition. He considers your age, symptoms, and health goals for your spinal treatment plan.

Addressing your spinal stenosis and arthritis

Arthritis damage in your spine is not curable, but you still have plenty of treatment options to address spinal arthritis and spinal stenosis.

For spinal arthritis, Dr. Amin may recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroid medications or injections to keep inflammation and pain under control. You may also benefit from medications designed to address inflammatory arthritis.

Nerve blocks and muscle relaxants can help with pain related to spinal stenosis. Your spinal stenosis treatment plan may also involve lifestyle changes to take pressure off your spine or to reduce inflammation in your body, as well as physical therapy and gentle exercise or stretching.

If your condition doesn’t improve after multiple months of conservative treatment, Dr. Amin may recommend surgery. Dr. Amin keeps your surgery for spinal decompression as minimally invasive as possible.

For help with spinal arthritis and spinal stenosis, contact Dr. Amin online or over the phone. Schedule your initial consultation appointment today!