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What is spinal arthritis?

On Behalf of | Jan 7, 2022 | Social Security Disability

Arthritis in the neck and spine refers to inflammation of the facet or sacroiliac joints in the spine or pelvis.

While there are more than 100 varieties of arthritis that could affect the spine, neck and back pain can become chronic and debilitating.

Common types

The most common form of spinal arthritis is osteoarthritis. This type of degenerative arthritis usually affects the lower back. The cause is wear and tear, and pain typically worsens when bending or twisting.

Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder, is sometimes known to affect the cervical region of the spine. It is more common among women than men, and it causes severe joint pain and inflammation, even in a rested state.

Another inflammatory form of arthritis is spondyloarthritis, which happens when a separate disease or infection triggers inflammation of joints or vertebrae. For example, people who suffer from psoriasis, a skin condition, may also develop psoriatic arthritis in the spine.

Risk factors

Causes of spinal arthritis other than normal deterioration or autoimmune triggers are largely unknown. However, common risk factors include:

  • Age
  • Obesity
  • Family history or genetic predisposition
  • Underlying conditions including diabetes, Lyme disease or irritable bowel syndrome

Symptoms and treatment

The most reported symptoms of spinal arthritis are pain and stiffness in the neck and back. Treatment may include pain management, physical therapy or surgical correction.

If you suffer from degenerative arthritis that causes you chronic pain and prevents you from working, you may be eligible for benefits from the Social Security Administration. It is important to have your doctor document your condition as you navigate the Social Security Disability Insurance application process.