Age related Lumbar Degenerative Arthritis
Lower back pain is one of the most common – and debilitating – medical conditions, affecting the majority of the population at some point in their lives. Up through the ages of 45 or 50, the most common cause of lower back pain is muscle or ligaments strains that result from picking up a heavy object, making a sudden, twisting motion the pulls a muscle, or an injury from sports or other activity. Once past this age – age 50 and beyond – the most common cause of pain in the lumbar, or lower back, is degenerative changes to the spine. These degenerative changes include slipped disc and herniated disc, where the cushioning discs between the vertebrae deteriorate. Another frequently seen degenerative condition is age-related lumbar degenerative arthritis. Also called osteoarthritis, this form or arthritis is characterized by the gradual breakdown and eventual loss of the cushioning cartilage in one or more joints. This is the most common of the more than 100 forms of arthritis. Cartilage allows the bones attached at the joints to move in the sockets without friction or restriction of movement. In the spine, as cartilage deteriorates, there is less cushioning material, and in the lower back this means the vertebrae can wear against each other and put pressure on nerves within or emanating from the lower spine, such as the sciatic nerve. Inflammation of the cartilage resulting from increased friction can cause the growth of bone spurs, or osteophytes, which can further increase irritation in the joint.
No current treatment can entirely arrest age-related deterioration of cartilage. But lifestyle changes are often sufficient to relieve symptoms and slow its progression. Healthy eating, exercise, maintaining the proper weight, quitting smoking, all can reduce pain and restore function for many people with lumbar osteroarthritis. Surgery is a safe and effective option for patients who don’t respond to more conservative treatments. Today minimally invasive surgery procedures provide better outcomes, and require less downtime. Find out if advanced surgical procedures can help you.