May is National Arthritis Awareness Month and a great time to learn more about this debilitating disease and its treatments. A collection of over 100 types of joint conditions, arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the country. While not as high profile as degenerative conditions in the knees or hips, your lower back can suffer from arthritic conditions, too.
The lumbar spine has five vertebrae with two joints between each, providing versatile motion and protective strength around the spinal cord. When arthritis strikes, changes to the lumbar vertebrae can compress the nerve roots branching off the spinal cord. In severe cases, this causes pain and weakness in the legs downstream from the point of nerve irritation.
When you develop leg or back pain from a degenerative form of arthritis, there are treatments that can help. Our Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center team specializes in lower back pain and lumbar radiculopathy. We start your care with conservative, nonsurgical techniques, moving to more aggressive care only when it’s necessary for your relief.
When nonsurgical treatments provide limited success, we may recommend lumbar laminectomy in certain situations. Here’s what you need to know about the arthritis-related problems we treat with this form of spine surgery.
Arthritis and the spine
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of the disease, and it usually arises from the wear and tear that accumulates over years. The lower back takes plenty of the load that comes with supporting your trunk and when the effects of osteoarthritis take hold, it sometimes creates a condition called spinal stenosis.
Stenosis is a medical word for “narrowing.” When applied to the spine, it refers to changes in the spaces through which nerve roots pass. This is often due to disc compression or bony growths that result from the effects of arthritis.
The lamina is part of a vertebra that forms an arch over the spinal canal to protect the spinal cord. It’s the portion of bone that comes into contact with nerve roots when arthritis causes spinal changes.
Laminectomy surgery removes part of the lamina, opening up space for nerve tissue. This relieves pressure on the nerve, reduces the symptoms of nerve compression, and improves leg function.
Both Dr. Abhishiek Sharma and Dr. Erik Curtis specialize in minimally invasive surgical techniques and choose these whenever possible to reduce your time in the hospital and speed your recovery.
Contact Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center to consult with our neurosurgeons regarding your arthritis-related pain. You can reach our office by phone or schedule your appointment online. Though many forms of arthritis have no cure, there’s a solution for the symptoms. Start the process to find your solution today.