Non-surgical treatment options for spinal arthritis include physical therapy, exercise, chiropractic therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, and/or application of heat or cold compresses. Non-prescription medications such as acetaminophen, NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory) such as aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen may be tried if the patient does not have contraindications to them. Your physician may order prescription strength pain medications or steroids to reduce inflammation. Occasionally steroids are injected around the nerves in the spinal column (epidural steroid injections – ESI) easing the pain and reducing the inflammation.
The steroid injections are done by Orlando Orthopaedic Center’s Pain Management Physicians. This is done in an outpatient surgical suite under fluoroscopy (specialized x-ray machine), which allows the steroid medication to be injected around the spinal nerves that are being affected. This may relieve the pain completely. If the pain is not relieved surgery may be indicated.
When non-surgical treatment fails patients might be a candidate for spinal fusion to stop the motion of the spine alleviating the pain at this location. The other procedure used for bone spurs is called a laminectomy. This procedure allows the spine surgeon to remove the bone spurs and relive the compression on the spinal nerves. If a large portion of the bone is removed the patient may also need a fusion to stabilize the vertebra.