Arthritis literally means inflammation of one or more joints. Arthritis is frequently accompanied by joint pain and is commonly a source of lower back pain. Lower back pain and stiffness may develop from ‘wear and tear’ to the spinal joints and discs resulting in damage to the articular cartilage. This can be degenerative in nature, be gradual in onset, and may become chronic. Lower back arthritis can be seen in all age groups but is most common in older patients, obese individuals, heavy labourers and individuals with previous injuries to the spine.
There are over 100 identified types of arthritis and the cause of each is dependent on the form of arthritis. Causes include injury (leading to DJD/osteoarthritis), metabolic abnormalities (such as gout), hereditary factors, the direct and indirect effect of infections (bacterial and viral), and a misdirected immune system with autoimmunity (such as in rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus).
Signs and Symptoms:
- Joint pain that can vary from an ache, to sharp pain and or burning sensation during movement.
- Decreased mobility in the joint causing stiffness especially in the mornings.
- Muscle weakness around the arthritic joint.
- Cracking or creaking of joints.