MedClinic > Blog > Algology > Spondylarthrosis of the spine

Spondylarthrosis is a degenerative-dystrophic disease of the spinal column, with the development of which changes occur in facet joints. In most cases, spondylarthrosis occurs against the background of osteochondrosis and is only one of the components of pain symptom complex. Changes in a facet joint are gradual. Cartilage tissue begins to wear out, loses its elasticity, ossifies. If the treatment of spondylarthrosis has not been carried out on time, the degenerative process affects the periarticular bone tissue. Stiffness of the joint causes discomfort and pain during movement.

Causes of spondylarthrosis

Spondylarthrosis is a disease that occurs due to congenital and acquired abnormalities in the structure and development of the spinal column. More often, this disease occurs in people with impaired posture. Factors provoking spondylarthrosis are:

  • spinal injuries;
  • excessive physical activity of a static nature (prolonged performance of monotonous work with a load on the spinal column);
  • degenerative processes of a chronic nature;
  • constant load on the spinal column (in people who are professionally involved in sports);
  • flat feet;
  • overweight (the load on the spine is not properly distributed).

Symptoms of spondylarthrosis

The main sign of the development of spondylarthrosis is back pain. The location of pain syndrome depends on in which part of the spine the joints were affected:

  • Spondylarthrosis of the lumbar spine – aching pain in the lower back, extends to the gluteal region and lower extremities, morning stiffness in the specified section. The intensity of the symptom strengthens when turning the body, walking, during flexion-extension, over time leading to a significant limitation of movements.
  • Spondylarthrosis of the lumbosacral region – difficulties in performing simple movements (bends, turns), aching pain in the lower back.
  • Spondylarthrosis of the cervical spine – pain symptom in the neck (back), spreads to the upper limbs, irradiates to the scapula. When the disease is developed, frequent headaches, nausea and vomiting, and hearing loss occur.
  • Spondylarthrosis of the sacral spine – pain in the lower part of the spine, spreads to the pelvic organs, is felt in the rectum.
  • Thoracic spondylarthrosis – this type of disease is extremely rare, due to the limited mobility of this segment of the spinal column.

Diagnosis and treatment methods

For the investigation, it is needed to carry out:

  • examination of the patient;
  • study of a detailed history;
  • X-ray of the spine;
  • MRI
  • CT

The treatment of spondylarthrosis is complex, and therapeutic methods are selected individually. At the early stages of development, drug therapy is used, painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed for pain relief. To restore the elasticity of the joints and prevent their ossification, a course of therapeutic gymnastics is prescribed.

In later stages, spondylarthrosis is not amenable to medical treatment. Surgical interventions for isolated spondylarthrosis are extremely rare.

In such cases, an option is radiofrequency ablation of the medial branch of the spinal root, which innervates the facet joint. This allows significantly reducing, or eliminating the pain syndrome, thereby improving the quality of life and allow continuing an active lifestyle.

The advantages of this method:

  • is performed on an outpatient basis under local anaesthesia;
  • is performed under the control of an electron-optical converter;
  • the duration of the procedure is 20-40 minutes;
  • persistent and long-lasting effect;
  • minimal risk of complications;
  • no side effects;
  • immediately after the procedure, the patient can return to a normal lifestyle.

Self-treatment of the disease using traditional medicine methods is excluded.