Most of us are aware that arthritis is a condition that involves the wear-and-tear of the cartilage in the joints. The cartilage is responsible for absorbing shock during physical activity as well as preventing bones inside the joint from rubbing against each other. Arthritis affecting the middle back occurs once the cartilage between the vertebrae breaks down. The formation of bone spurs occur which triggers a variety of symptoms. In most cases, the doctor will manage middle back arthritis using conservative measures, but surgery might be required in severe cases. If you will enroll in a first aid class today, you can learn more about measures to ease the discomfort caused by middle back arthritis.
Middle back pain
Middle back pain is often linked with arthritis that develops in the middle back. The condition initially occurs at the facet joint. The presence of the bone spurs in the middle back results to rubbing due to the lack of cartilage in between the vertebrae. This will further cause inflammation of the facet joint, thus aggravating neighboring nerves that are responsible for sensing pain.
In addition, this symptom is worse during movements that involve bending, twisting or extending the back. The doctor will initially recommend rest, application of ice and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to manage the back pain.
Swelling of the facet joint
The facet joints in the middle back become inflamed. This swelling occurs since the bone spurs rub together and cause inflammation. The inflammation in the joint attracts fluid to the facet joint, resulting to pain and fullness.
Facet joint swelling is managed with rest, application of ice and NSAIDs. In some cases, the doctor might recommend a corticosteroid injection to minimize the swelling. This will reduce the inflammation around the facet joint as well as the medial branch nerve that sense pain around that joint. The injections are only given three times in a year in order to avoid bone thinning.
Diminished range of motion
Middle back arthritis can limit the flexibility of the spine. This occurs since bone spurs and inflammation reduce the range of motion of the facet joints in the back. As a consequence, there is reduced bending, twisting and extending of the middle back. These limitations can prevent the individual from engaging fully in daily activities.
Adequate rest, application of ice and pain medications can help in minimizing the swelling in the middle back in order to improve the range of motion. Nevertheless, physical therapy is the most effective treatment in improving the flexibility of the individual. This involves exercise that improves flexibility of the middle back. The individual must strictly observe a home exercise program to help maintain middle back flexibility as well as prevent future episodes of stiffness from occurring.