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Treating Osteoarthritis

What Can I do for Osteoarthritis of the Spine?

Patients with less severe symptoms may benefit from treatments they can perform themselves. There are quite a few at-home options to help patients treat osteoarthritis of the spine at home. These treatments include:

At Home Treatments for Osteoarthritis of the Spine
  • Exercise– Exercise is one of the most effective non-drug treatments for osteoarthritis. The best types of exercise for osteoarthritis sufferers are low impact, offer an aerobic element, improve flexibility, and use slight resistance.
  • OTC medication– Over-the-counter pain relievers may reduce the painful symptoms of osteoarthritis. Keep in mind to only take the amount recommended on the bottle.
  • Topical ointments – Osteoarthritis pain may be reduced through the use of topical ointments applied to the skin over the affected area. These ointments usually contain counterirritants, which stimulate the nerve endings to distract the brain from pain.
  • Wearing supportive devices – Support devices such as back braces can provide support to the spine.

What If I Need Additional Treatment for Osteoarthritis of the Spine?

Surgery may be required for certain patients with severe cases of osteoarthritis of the spine that lead to nerve root pinching or instability of the joint.

Houston Physicians’ Hospital offers the following surgical treatments for osteoarthritis of the spine:
  • Lumbar fusion
  • Lumbar laminectomy

Keep in mind that the risks and benefits of surgery should be researched extensively and discussed with a medical professional before making a decision regarding surgical treatment.

How Do I Recover from Osteoarthritis of the Spine?

It is common to feel a bit sluggish immediately following surgery for osteoarthritis. Frequently shifting positions, avoiding standing for long periods of time, sitting, and lying down are recommended to help aid in recovery. If the pain is not too severe, short walks, along with gradually increasing other activities, is recommended. Keep in mind to gradually add activity, as doing too much too soon can increase your pain and slow your recovery. While low-impact activities are typically approved during recovery, patients should avoid bending, lifting heavy objects, and twisting the body until approved by their Houston Physicians’ Hospital physician. Chores that involve these strenuous activities should be done by someone willing to help. Pain is likely to still be experienced for a short time following your surgery. If pain is less severe, OTC pain medications should help ease symptoms, along with the use of an ice pack. If your pain is not treated by these methods, you may need a prescription pain reliever. Should you be prescribed a pain reliever, it is vital to remember that you should not operate a car and should enlist the help of someone else to drive you.