Conservative Medical Treatment for Arthritis in Monmouth & Ocean County

Arthritis is a painful and debilitating disorder characterized by inflammation in the joints of the body. While there are over one hundred types of arthritis, the most common form is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is mainly experienced in the weight bearing bones of the back, neck, and spine. Mechanical stress on the joints of the spine is a major cause of osteoarthritis.

What is Mechanical Stress?

The spine is a load bearing structure. The type of stress that can lead to osteoarthritis is known as mechanical stress, which is caused by an atypical loading in the back, neck, and spine. This phenomenon is usually caused by abnormal posture or trauma to these areas.

Eventually, the bones of the spine are forced to remodel to accommodate this abnormal loading and stress. This involves a process in which bone cells known as osteoblasts are activated to reproduce and build additional bone. The end result are bone spurs that form in the spine and weight-bearing joints.

Some cases of osteoarthritis in the spine involve compression of the spinal cord and nerve roots because of inflammation that causes the spinal canal to narrow.

Arthritis Symptoms

Pain can occur in the back, neck, shoulders, arms, and legs when bone spurs or inflammation cause the nerves to become compressed. This pain is exacerbated by movement and may restrict the mobility of arthritis sufferers. Other symptoms might include numbness/tingling; weakness; and possible bowel or bladder dysfunction.

Spinal Injections for Arthritis

When arthritis does not respond to non-invasive rehabilitation practices (such as physical therapy or acupuncture), minimally invasive procedures such as spinal injections may be used. Patients with arthritis may benefit from the following types of injections:

Facet Joint Injections: Because arthritis is a condition of inflammation in the joints, facet joint injections are sometimes used. The facet joints are located between the vertebrae of each spinal segment. When a long-lasting steroid is administered to the facet joints, many arthritis sufferers experience pain relief and an improvement in mobility.

Epidural Steroid Injections: The epidural space is the area between the membranes covering the spinal cord and the wall of the spinal canal. Injections in this area are used for disorders (such as arthritis) in which inflamed spinal nerves are causing pain and restricting movement. The goal of Epidural Steroid Injections is to help patients return to normal activity and begin a program of rehabilitation.

Arthritis, Physiatry, and Fluoroscopy at Monmouth Pain & Rehabilitation

Monmouth Pain & Rehabilitation offers conservative pain management strategies designed and administered by specialists in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (otherwise known as Physiatrists). This type of medical doctor is an expert in disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

At our Shrewsbury, Freehold, Wall, and Lacey NJ offices, spinal injections are performed by a Physiatrist with the guidance of Fluoroscopy—an imaging technique that provides real-time, moving images of the affected body part. Fluoroscopy ensures that injections are as precise and effective as possible.

Please contact our office to learn more about medical treatment for arthritis in Monmouth and Ocean County.