Arthritic Spine Conditions Treated at Mercy in Baltimore


The Minimally Invasive Brain and Spine Center at Mercy in Baltimore specializes in diagnosing and treating brain and spinal disorders, including arthritic spine conditions. 

About the Condition

The primary arthritic spine conditions are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis or joint disease. It is often referred to as “wear and tear” arthritis, as it occurs when the protective cartilage within the joint wears down over time. With spinal osteoarthritis, cartilage between the discs and joints in the back and neck wear down.

The condition is commonly found in older adults but can also be found in younger people who have an injury to a joint or a cartilage-based genetic defect.

Osteoarthritis can lead to:

Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory condition that occurs when your body's immune system begins to attack healthy cells and tissue. Unlike the “wear-and-tear” damage of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of your joints, causing a painful swelling that can lead to bone erosion and joint deformity.

The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown and there is currently no cure. It typically affects adults over the age of 40, and is more common in women than men.

NEXT: Symptoms & Diagnostic Process ›
Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

Arthritic spine conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis may present the following symptoms:

  • Stiffness
  • Pain
  • Numbness or weakness in the arms or legs
  • Tenderness
  • Bone spurs
  • Grating sensation
  • Loss of partial range of motions

Diagnosing arthritic spine conditions may require a combination of tests, including a physical examination, imaging tests and blood tests.

NEXT: Treatment Options ›
Treatment Options

There is no cure for arthritic spine conditions, so treatment is aimed at reducing pain and maintaining joint functionality. Treatment plans usually begin with conservative methods of treatment, including medications to reduce symptoms. Therapies, such as physical or occupational therapy, may help patients maintain joint movement with minimal pain. In more severe cases, surgery or injections may be required to relieve pain and help with joint mobility.