Low back discomfort affects up to 80% of the population. In osteoarthritis, cartilage degeneration is a frequent source of low back discomfort (tissue covering the joint surfaces at the ends of bones)
Healthy cartilage cushions the bones when they move against one other in normal
joints, allowing them to move freely. When the cartilage lining the facet joints
(vertebral joints) breaks out, it allows the bones to rub against one other,
causing spinal osteoarthritis. Facet joints and vertebrae develop osteophytes,
or tiny bony growths commonly known as bone spurs, as a result of an effort to
reestablish stability in the joint. There is a gradual loss of flexibility and
stiffness in the spine as we age. There have been cases when the osteophytes in
the spine have grown big enough to obstruct the nerves flowing through the foramen
magnum or spinal canal (spinal stenosis and foraminal stenosis). Osteoarthritis and
stenosis are connected medical conditions, however stenosis is a distinct medical
problem. As with degenerative disc disease (a slow degradation of discs between vertebrae),
osteoarthritis may also be mistaken for degenerative disc disease. There is no clear link
between aging and osteoarthritis. For example, it may be caused by overuse of a joint
or other mechanical stressors such as repeated motions or injury. Inheritance also has
Pain and stiffness are the primary symptoms, which worsen with time. Pain and stiffness are the first symptoms that appear after a prolonged period of inactivity. Physical exercise and extended sitting might exacerbate the discomfort in the latter stages of the illness.
Diagnosis and Treatment
The source of back pain is an important factor in determining the best course of therapy. An x-ray or other imaging study of the spine may be ordered by your doctor to help determine the source of your back discomfort. Your doctor will ask about your medical history and do a physical examination before making a diagnosis. In order to alleviate pain, preserve joint mobility, and decrease the course of arthritis, treatment focuses on these three areas. As a first step, a treatment plan should be devised that incorporates exercise, medicine, and measures to preserve joints. Additionally, you might be sent to an orthopedic surgeon or a rheumatologist or Physiotherapist. Back osteoarthritis may be treated using a variety of methods:
- Education: the best way to avoid back problems is to know their causes.
- Low-impact exercise (walking, biking, swimming) improves muscle strength and flexibility, helping to support the spine. A gradually increasing program is recommended.
- Rest during active inflammation.
- Heat and cold to reduce inflammation.
- Adequate back support (firm mattress, supportive chair).
- Weight control.
- Complementary treatment. This includes Physiotherapy and Massage therapy.
- Pain relievers (such as acetaminophen, aspirin, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), topical creams, and opioids (such as codeine).
- Injections targeting the epidural space (narrow space between membranes covering spinal cord and wall of spinal canal), the facet joints or blocking specific spinal nerves.
How Physiotherapy Can Help With Osteoporosis?
Physiotherapy has been demonstrated to be useful in the treatment and management of osteoporosis. Pain management measures, posture and balance improvement, as well as strengthening of muscles and bones, are all helped by it.
Strength training and low-impact exercises may reduce fracture risk by strengthening bones. Strength training and other forms of intense exercise are often avoided by those with osteoporosis due to their perceived risk of fractures. Any physiological system's performance can only be improved by being subjected to a load that is much greater than the usual. Increasing strength requires that the skeleton be subjected to daily stresses that are larger than those it is capable of withstanding. Your physiotherapist will work with you to devise an exercise plan that will help you improve your general stability and strength. Fall and fracture risk will be reduced as a result of the activity strengthening the bones and muscles.
Physiotherapy may also help reduce the likelihood of a fall via exercises that improve coordination and balance. Balance may be improved by doing these exercises while walking around dangers, in tight places, or on unsteady surfaces. Patients will be able to retain their equilibrium when confronted with external stimuli.
Physiotherapists also seek to improve posture with strengthening and moderate range-of-motion exercises. The increasing flexion of the thoracic spine causes gradual fractures and wedging of the thoracic vertebrae. Poor posture exacerbates the problem. Exercise may help strengthen the upper back and core, which in turn improves posture.
There is no one-size-fits-all workout programme for persons with Osteoporosis. Based on a medical examination of muscular strength, fracture risk, degree of physical activity, range of motion, gait, fitness, and balance, each programme for the particular patient should be developed.
Physiotherapists have specialized training in re-enablement and evaluation. Evidence-based guidance, education, and exercise programmes may help avoid falls, decrease the fear of falling, raise self-confidence, and improve balance.