Arthritis of the spine develops in the small joints located between each vertebrae called facet joints. As we age, the cartilage lining the joint surface can shrink and wear thin causing bone spurs and enlargement of the joint, which often leads to the inflammation and pain of arthritis.
Arthritis can occur anywhere in the spine from the neck to the lower back. Arthritis pain is often worse in the morning, when the weather changes, after over-exertion or even after long periods of sitting. Bone rubbing on bone, abnormal curvature of the spine, loss of flexibility and difficulty bending or walking may also occur. However, because these symptoms are not unique to arthritis, it’s important to identify the correct source of pain to successfully treat your problem.
Every year, millions of people across the United States injure their backs. Back pain can make it difficult to manage many aspects of a normal life. For those with active jobs, severe back pain may require time off from work. While it’s important to visit a physician for severe pain, there are several effective ways that an individual under physicians can manage spinal inflammation and pain.
Spinal pain can be caused by a variety of different health issues. If an individual lifts a very heavy object in an unsafe way, the discs between the vertebrae of the spine can slip out of position. Under normal conditions, these discs act as lubricated sponges that allow for spinal flexibility. If a disc slips out of normal alignment, the area surrounding it may become very inflamed. If the disc slips back into its normal location, the inflammation may not always go away.
One of the best ways to minimize spinal inflammation is through low-impact exercises. However, standing or bending over can put excessive amounts of strain on the vertebrae of the back.
Swimming is an excellent form of exercise for those suffering from back injuries. While swimming can exercise many different muscle groups that surround the spine, the spine itself isn’t subject to the normal compressive force caused by gravity.
There are several swimming exercises that are recommended for those with spinal injuries. Repeated back arches and forward crunches can be an effective way to make sure the spine retains its full range of movement.
Treading water is also very good for the back. When an individual treads water, movement of the arms and legs creates a series of non-repeated movements in the spine. These movements can help reduce inflammation and improve range of movement.
Most important of all, a cool swimming pool can help eliminate painful inflammation. After a severe back injury, soaking in a swimming pool for 30 minutes can often reduce pain by 40 percent or more.
That said, there are some injuries that could be exacerbated by swimming. If you’re suffering from spinal stenosis, it’s important to work with a physical therapist to find the best exercises for you. You should always consult with a physician before changing your regular routine or starting any new exercise program.
For some severe spinal health issues, a spinal surgery may be necessary. Contact us for a full evaluation from neurology to pain management to our spine surgeon. local healthcare provider to learn more about the benefits and disadvantages of spinal surgery.