Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Is Plastic Surgery Right For You?

Cosmetic changes can help you feel better about yourself if there are physical features that make you unhappy. There are a number of procedures that can severely alter or moderately change body parts you have lived with, and hated, your entire life. This can change your life and leave you feeling like a brand new person, finally happy with how you look. However, if you are not a good candidate for cosmetic surgery, you may find yourself feeling just as dissatisfied after the after the cosmetic surgery procedure, if not more, than you were before. Prior to determining if a procedure is right for you, you and your doctor will discuss a variety of factors. This ensures that you will be satisfied and go on to lead a happy and fulfilling life.

Prior to any type of invasive procedure, your doctor needs to determine whether or not you are in good health. If you are suffering from an illness of any kind, the procedure will need to be postponed until things have cleared up. Even if you have a temporary injury that does not seem like a big deal, you will have to wait. This is because your body needs all the energy it can muster to heal following a procedure. If it is focused on two different problems, it will be taxing and recovery time will be lengthened for both instances.

Just as important as your physical health is your emotional health. If you have reached middle age and you are feeling blue about your body, an appearance tune-up may be in order. However, if your aging has brought on a severe depression, there is no amount of physical change that is going to stop how you are feeling. It is important to get yourself emotional healthy before considering a procedure of any kind. You need to be on firm ground emotionally or the process will bring on more heartache and you will be worse off than you were before.

Coupled with emotional health, it is important for patients to have realistic expectations of their procedure. If you are well-adjusted and do not connect your personal worth with your physical appearance, you are likely to be a better candidate. People who can look at themselves and think they are a good person, but they just do not like something about their nose or their tummy will get a lot out of a procedure. If you think an operation is going to change your entire life and make all of your problems disappear, you are likely to be disappointed. Placing your self-worth on the outcome of a procedure is always a big risk and usually does not work out for the best.

Finally, in this goes back to being in good physical health, it is better if a patient is not a smoker. The body views smoke as something it needs to protect itself against, so much of its energy is going to combating the invasion of smoke. If you are thinking about an operation or procedure, kick your smoking habit first.

Benefits of Plastic Surgery

There are many people who had been doing some serious research on plastic surgery and its side effects. They had been trying to know about its critical application and its benefits in terms of treatment and cure. As far as plastic surgery is concerned it is not about a cure, but it is about treatment as this is a more prominent perception which people take from it. Let us take the example of Deidre. She is a resident of Chicago suburb. She has been doing research on the aspect of plastic surgery and for this; she has found experts in breast augmentation or tummy tuck, to know more about their practical treatments and their metaphoric applications. Apart from this, she had been carrying out research in other treatments and had been successful to a great extent in knowing about plastic surgery.

Deidre had been taking interviews from her close friends, who had already gone through the plastic surgery treatments. First she consulted with her close friends about their treatment then she set out to do research in the area. On her finding in California, she became familiar with the people who are Elite Californians take the plastic surgery treatments. This made her assume, that the process is quite expensive that is why only wealthier people have plastic surgery.

Apart from California, she worked out on other districts as well like Beverly Hills, where she found middle class people visiting the plastic surgeon’s office. This changed her perception and she started to focus on patients for better analysis.

She traced out famous celebrities and studies their external reports about their surgical operations. She started to visit the public websites, where she saw people discussing about the celebrities who took plastic surgical treatments.

The reports opened more things and she got a clearer picture on the plastic surgery benefits. This also made her think that only rich and famous can take the benefits and not a common man. But later on her research concluded to a positive solution for a common man. Those who want to take plastic surgery treatments can take them as it is a modern application which can be a choice for any person who can afford his or her desires to get fulfilled. Here are some benefits, why people get anxious for plastic surgery treatments:

• All the irregular parts can be restored

• Appearance of self-confidence

• Imperfections like marks or spots are gone

• Aging signs are erased

• Best treatments for skin maladies, especially for skin cancers

• To restore the feeling of complete aesthetics

• Solutions for weight loss or weight gain are there

• Medical complexities like vision impairment or eyelid drooping are all to be cured

• Problems of breast augmentation and tummy tick are also in the treatments list

• Facial modifications, skin medications or eye expression medication, all are possible treatments

If you are in any of the above mentioned problems, there are easy treatments to be made. Join a specialist’s channel and see what he or she can advice you on your matter. You can ask friends and family members for recommendations or you can do a search online to find specialists listed in your area. Schedule a consultation appointment with a specialist to discuss your options.

Importance of Plastic Surgery

There are people who are quite anxious about their looks and their appearance. This is a mental approach which anyone can have. Some look for alternate ways like plastic surgery that works in favor of their self-consciousness. Fortunately, there are experts like plastic surgeon associated with plastic surgery, who are available at any time for people’s help. There are quite a few reasons why people consider the option of plastic surgery. Some people have it because they do not like how they look and some have to remove their apparent skin diseases.

It is a common observation that when someone gets injured through an accident and he or she is undertaken by scars on the face or on hands at the same time. In such condition the person would require a plastic surgeon in order to treat the injury and the skinny blots on the face or anywhere where the injury has taken place.

People often go with car accidents. Some accidents are major enough to damage the person’s face or the major body parts on the instance. In that case, people go for the consideration of plastic surgery with an experienced surgeon on the treatment. With such option, the wounds are secured and the parts dismantled are rejoined at the same time. This is the major proportion why people drop into plastic surgery. Some accidents are unfortunate enough to damage the shape of the face or the head. If the irregularity of the damaged part is left with the same condition, it gives a very odd impression to others. This is also a major reason why many plastic surgeons come into consideration.

Many people are self-conscious of their bodies which is why many people consider changing their natural appearance. They go for unnatural means to work out on their natural gestures.

Most people love to look different, and for that reason they try to change their natural appearance. This is why plastic surgery hospitals are queued up, as those who want to change them apparently gets into the account of plastic surgeons.

Many people do not look much on the expense as they are ready to bear all the expenses that are involved in the treatments. There are many celebrities who work out on their beautification as they want to appear as young and as attractive as possible.

Celebrities choose their favorite skin specialists’ and they go to them regularly for their treatments. This is how you can say that plastic surgery and plastic surgeons are most important for fame oriented people. Beautification is their objective, and they can go anything and spend any amount in order to make them look special, peculiar and different from others on the same time.

If you are also into this type of consciousness, there are experts available to help you out. Specialist clinics are easy to access and you can take membership for any special treatment you require for your treatment. This will make you look different and the same like you desired. Treatments are expensive, but if you are having the desire then the cost do not carries any worth.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What Causes Spinal Arthritis?

Spinal arthritis causes vary, but the main reason for the development of the condition is believed to be aging. Several degenerative processes occur naturally in the spine as we age and among them is the deterioration of facet joint cartilage. Before discussing spinal arthritis causes, it is helpful to understand exactly what spinal arthritis is and how it affects the spinal anatomy.

Arthritis and the Spine

Spinal arthritis – or more specifically, spinal osteoarthritis – is a condition that affects the facet joints of the spine. The vertebrae of the spine are connected by facet joints, and these joints give us a high degree of flexibility to twist, turn, and bend. Each vertebral joint surface is lined with cartilage and a synovial membrane. Cartilage provides a thin cushion to keep vertebral bones from grinding against each other, while the synovial membrane secretes synovial fluid to provide the joints with lubrication.

Spinal arthritis is characterized by the breakdown and dehydration of joint cartilage as we grow older and unfortunately, there isn’t much we can do to stop it. As the cartilage wears down, tiny medial branch nerves that innervate a facet joint may be irritated or damaged, which could cause localized pain and tenderness. Additionally, the affected vertebrae may begin to rub against each other once joint cartilage has worn away, and the lubricating synovial membrane may be damaged, too. The resulting bone-on-bone friction usually causes the main spinal arthritis symptoms, which include pain, stiffness, tenderness, and inflammation. Bone spurs may also develop.

Additional Causes

We know that aging process plays a large part in how spinal arthritis develops, but there are other spinal arthritis causes that can occur on their own or in conjunction with growing older. Additional causes can include:

• Injuries – Traumatic injuries to the back or neck can cause a variety of problems, including possible intervertebral disc damage. If a disc is damaged by bulging or rupturing, the facet joints may overcompensate for the lack of stability and work harder. The added stress on the facet joints could lead to the development of spinal arthritis.

• Genetics – An individual with a family history of arthritis or other spinal conditions may be more susceptible to developing spinal arthritis. Others with birth defects and spinal deformities at an early age may also develop the condition sooner than normal.

• Obesity – The facet joints of the spine can withstand a lifetime of wear and tear, but being overweight can hasten the onset of spinal arthritis. The joints must work harder to support the additional weight, which can lead to early deterioration of joint cartilage.

• Repetitive movements – Some occupations require extensive standing and upper body movement; and frequent twisting, bending, turning, and lifting can lead to spinal arthritis. Athletes can also develop the condition for this reason.


Unfortunately, there is no cure for osteoarthritis and there is no definitive way to completely prevent the condition from occurring. However, there are several steps that can be taken to maintain a healthy spine as long as possible, such as eating a well-balanced and healthy diet, exercising regularly, avoiding weight gain, maintaining proper posture and body mechanics, and finding ways to eliminate added stress on the joints.

Living With Spinal Arthritis

Spinal arthritis (also known as spinal osteoarthritis or spondylosis) is a degenerative condition that affects the facet joints of the spine. It is a condition that usually develops as a result of the normal aging process and is typically diagnosed in individuals 45-50 years old or older.

Arthritis in the back or neck can cause a variety of symptoms, and pain can range from mild discomfort to severe, debilitating pain. Unfortunately, there is no cure for any form of arthritis, but it doesn’t mean that people with the condition can no longer enjoy their lives. Learning to live with spinal arthritis may be challenging, but there are steps one can take to manage symptoms and continue to live as comfortably as possible.

Helpful Tips

Spinal arthritis is characterized by the breakdown of cartilage on the facet joints, which connect vertebrae together. As the facet joint cartilage wears away between two vertebrae, raw bone is uncovered. The affected vertebrae may grind against each other and cause symptoms of pain, stiffness, tenderness, and inflammation. A person experiencing such symptoms should consult with their doctor to learn about how pain can be alleviated by adhering to certain behaviors, such as:

• Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or naproxen can help relieve pain as well as reduce inflammation in areas of the spine affected by spinal arthritis.

• Avoiding added stress on the joints – Additional stress on the facet joints may be caused by weight gain, working in a physically strenuous occupation, overexertion during exercise, poor posture, improper lifting techniques, and inadequate spinal support.

• Maintaining a healthy diet – Eating fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and healthy Omega 3 fats can not only help keep body weight in check, but can also supplement the body with calcium and Vitamins C and D, which can help to combat spinal arthritis, weakened bones, and cartilage deterioration.

• Quitting smoking – Studies show that the toxins released when smoking tobacco actually contribute to cartilage degeneration.

Additional Treatments

People living with spinal arthritis may also benefit from other treatment methods, such as physical therapy and frequent stretching. A physical therapist can teach proper body mechanics as well as a variety of stretching exercises to relieve muscle tension, expand narrowed spaces in the spinal column, and increase blood flow to painful areas. Additionally, a physical therapist can help to focus on core muscle strengthening techniques to provide better support for the spine and reduce stress placed on the facet joints. Gentle massage may also prove beneficial in promoting relaxation, reducing tension, and encouraging blood circulation. In cases where severe pain is hindering a patient’s quality of life, a doctor may suggest stronger prescription medications, such as codeine or morphine. Facet joint injections may also be suggested, which combine the inflammation-reducing properties of steroid medication with the numbing properties of an anesthetic.

In Conclusion

Living comfortably with spinal arthritis is possible in most cases. Individuals with the condition should talk to a doctor, who can more thoroughly explain the degenerative processes that occur in the spine and suggest treatment methods to alleviate pain and other symptoms.

Treatments For Spinal Arthritis In The Lower Back

Treating spinal arthritis in the lower back, or lumbar region of the spine, is usually necessary for patients experiencing mild to severe pain. No one person will experience spinal arthritis the same way as another, and treatments should be specifically tailored to provide the most effective pain relief possible in a each situation. Before exploring the types of treatments available for patients with spinal arthritis in the lower back, it can be helpful to understand how the condition can develop.

Why is the Lumbar Spine Susceptible to Arthritis?

There are more than 100 known types of arthritis. Generally speaking, arthritis involves the inflammation of one or more of the body’s joints, such as the knees, hips, fingers, and spine. The term “spinal arthritis” is often used interchangeably with “spinal osteoarthritis,” which is the most commonly diagnosed form of the degenerative disease. Spinal arthritis affects the facet joints of the spine, which are the points where individual vertebrae connect together to form a column of bones that’s able to move, bend, and twist. The facet joints give the neck and back its highly flexible characteristics, allowing us to turn in many directions without a problem.

The lumbar region (in the lower back) endures extreme stress throughout our lifetimes, as it is responsible for supporting the upper body weight, as well as maintaining a high level of motion. It is due to this stress and the effects of the normal aging process that spinal arthritis in the lower back can develop.

How Does Lumbar Spinal Arthritis Form?

The condition is characterized by the breakdown of the cartilage that covers the facet joints. Cartilage in the body dehydrates progressively over time and can wear away. This protective lining of the facet joints can wear away enough to not only uncover raw bone, but also to irritate the medial branch nerves that carry pain signals into facet joints. Nerve irritation, coupled with bone-on-bone friction, can cause symptoms of pain, inflammation, stiffness, and tenderness that affect the lower back.

Additionally, the rubbing of raw bone can cause osteophytes, or bone spurs, to develop. While these bony nodules are not painful in and of themselves, they may possibly impinge the spinal cord or a nerve root. Nerve impingement in the lower back typically presents with symptoms of localized pain, as well as radiating pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness through the lower back, hips, buttocks, legs, and feet.

Treatment Methods

Spinal arthritis in the lower back should be properly diagnosed by a doctor or spine specialist before any treatment plan is implemented, as the symptoms of the condition can often be confused with a number of other spinal or general health issues. Furthermore, treatments will likely vary based on the patient’s age and overall physical condition, as well as which lumbar joints are affected and how severe symptoms are. Once lumbar spinal arthritis has been diagnosed, a doctor may recommend one or more of the following conservative (non-surgical) treatment methods:

• Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
• Physical therapy
• Hot/cold therapy
• Low-impact exercises
• Stretching
• Strength training
• Activity and behavior modification
• Corticosteroid facet joint injections

In most cases, these conservative treatments can provide sufficient pain relief. However, patients whose symptoms do not respond to such methods may then be asked to consider surgery. Fortunately, surgery is rarely required to treat spinal arthritis in the lower back. Furthermore, there are a variety of outpatient endoscopic procedures available to treat spinal osteoarthritis, and these minimally invasive procedures provide many patients with long-term symptom relief in a matter of hours.

Spinal Arthritis In The Neck

Spinal arthritis, also known as spinal osteoarthritis, often affects the neck, or cervical region of the spine, as this area is highly mobile and must bear the weight of the head. The degenerative condition is characterized by the breakdown of cartilage on the facet joints of the spine. Spinal arthritis can develop for a number of reasons, but age is considered the main contributing factor to the development of the condition.


Spinal arthritis in the neck can develop as the aging process takes place. Over time, the cartilage that lines the facet joints begins to dehydrate. Cartilage dehydration, combined with the stress placed on the cervical spine, can cause the joint lining to wear away. Each facet joint is innervated by tiny medial branch nerves, which can become irritated or damaged as the cartilage breaks down. Additionally, raw bone may be exposed. The irritated nerves and the bone-on-bone friction can then lead to arthritis symptoms of inflammation, joint stiffness, pain, and tenderness. As the degenerative effects of cervical arthritis worsen, spinal cord or nerve root compression may come into play, which can cause pain, numbness, weakness, and tingling to radiate down into the shoulder blades, arms, hands, and fingers. A patient with spinal arthritis in the neck might also experience grinding or popping noises, headaches, and muscle spasms in the shoulders and neck.

Additional Causes

In addition to aging, cervical spinal arthritis can also develop due to:

• Traumatic injury – Injuries such as whiplash or a forceful blow or fall may not cause spinal arthritis in the neck immediately, but damaged tissues and fractured vertebrae can set the stage for arthritis to more easily develop in the future.

• Cigarette smoking – Studies have shown that the toxins released when smoking tobacco can actually speed up cartilage degeneration in the spine.

• Forward head posture – Poor posture can cause a variety of conditions to develop in any area of the spine, but forward head posture can be particularly damaging to the cervical spine. This posture involves the misalignment of the head with the rest of the spine, where the head does not sit on top of the shoulders, as normal, but instead sticks out past the shoulders. This causes the body’s center of gravity to shift and places an inordinate amount of additional pressure on the spinal structures, which could lead to the development of spinal arthritis.

• Genetics – Oftentimes, genetics and a family history of spinal arthritis or other neck problems can play a role in the development of the condition.

Possible Treatments for Spinal Arthritis in the Neck

A doctor or spinal specialist may initially suggest a number of conservative (non-invasive) treatment methods to treat cervical arthritis symptoms. These might include the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and neck bracing or other spinal support devices. Physical therapy may also prove helpful by teaching spinal arthritis patients proper body mechanics and posture correction techniques. Furthermore, the use of cold and/or hot therapies can help numb painful areas, reduce inflammation, and promote nutrient-rich blood flow. Conservative treatments are usually able to provide symptomatic relief of cervical spinal arthritis after several weeks or months of treatment, and as a result, surgery is seldom required as a treatment method.

Preparing For Spinal Arthritis Surgery

For most patients with spinal arthritis, surgery is not required. Typically, a regimen of conservative, or non-invasive, treatments can provide spinal arthritis patients sufficient pain relief after several weeks or months of application. However, in some instances, the condition does not respond well to non-invasive treatments, leaving a patient in chronic (long-lasting) and often debilitating pain. It is at this point that a doctor may suggest a surgical procedure to attempt symptomatic relief. Preparing oneself for spinal arthritis surgery may not necessarily be a simple task, but patients should keep a few key points in mind prior to consenting to any procedure.

Speaking with Your Doctor

Patients should always consult with a doctor or spine specialist about which procedure is best for their particular needs and situation. In fact, it can be helpful to obtain a second or third opinion to definitively confirm that a surgical procedure is the best treatment option available. Patients should never shy away from asking direct questions regarding what will happen before and after the surgery, such as:

• How should I physically prepare for the procedure?
• What exactly will occur during the surgery?
• What medications will be used?
• How long will the surgery last?
• Approximately how long will it take for me to make a full recovery?
• After the surgery, when should I be able to return to work, school, or my other daily activities?
• What risks or complications are associated with this procedure?

Additionally, patients should research the qualifications of the surgeon intended to perform the procedure before signing any consent form.

Researching Types of Spinal Arthritis Surgery

Before consenting to any surgery, spinal arthritis patients should also take time to thoroughly research the procedures that have been recommended for treatment. There are a number of methods available to surgically treat spinal arthritis, and each method has its benefits depending on the location and severity of the condition.

Surgery to Address Facet Joint Pain

Some surgical procedures address the pain that’s originating within one or more facet joints. The facet joints contain small nerve endings called medial branch nerves that enable pain signals within the joint. When a patient has spinal arthritis, the facet joints have lost their coating of protective cartilage, and as a result, the medial branch nerves become irritated and inflamed. When this occurs, a facetectomy may be recommended; this involves the complete removal of a damaged facet joint. Or, as an alternative, the patient may opt for a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure such as a facet thermal ablation. During this procedure, a small incision is made and the irritated medial branch nerves are deadened using an endoscope and a laser. The concept behind this procedure is similar to that of a root canal – by deadening a nerve ending, pain is eliminated, and yet the bone is still fully functional.

Surgery to Address the Compression (or “Pinching”) of Spinal Nerves

Nerve decompression surgery may be required in cases when facet joint deterioration has lead to the pinching of a nerve root or the spinal cord. For example, bone spurs (osteophytes) often develop in patients with spinal arthritis. These bony nodules form in response to weakened spinal stability as the cartilage wears away on the facet joints. If a bone spur impinges a nerve root or the spinal cord, symptoms of localized pain, as well as radiating pain, tingling, weakness, and numbness may occur. One type of decompression surgery used to treat spinal arthritis is a laminectomy, in which a portion of a vertebral lamina bone is removed. If a laminectomy is required to treat spinal arthritis, the bone removed will most likely have bone spurs attached to it.

Spinal Fusion Surgery

A spinal fusion surgery is often required if a large portion of spinal anatomy has been removed (for example, if a facet joint has been removed), or if spinal stability has been compromised by severe arthritis. However, another main goal of spinal fusion is to eliminate the facet joint movement that causes pain and other arthritis symptoms of stiffness, tenderness, and inflammation. In this procedure, a bone graft, rods, and screws are secured to two or more adjacent vertebrae in order to permanently immobilize and stabilize an arthritic facet joint.

In Conclusion

Researching the various methods of spinal arthritis surgery can provide patients with important information about possible outcomes and expectations, which may allow people to feel more in control of their situation and may even result in a faster and less stressful recovery.

Bulging Disc Causes And Treatment

Bulging disc causes can vary greatly, but aging – and the related changes the body endures – tends to be the main reason that disc bulges develop. Bulging discs typically occur in people aged 30 years or older and can lead to a number of symptoms and additional issues within the spinal column. But what exactly is a bulging disc and how does the condition develop in the first place? To answer this, it can be helpful to first have a clearer understanding of the spinal anatomy.

Anatomy of the Spine

The spine, which runs from the base of the skull to the buttocks, is made up of a long stack of vertebrae, as well as intervertebral discs, supportive muscles, ligaments, and other tissues. The column that is formed by these components serves to protect the spinal cord and provide various openings for its nerve roots to travel to the rest of the body. The spinal column is also responsible for supporting the upper body and providing us with the ability to bend, twist, turn, etc.

The intervertebral discs are located in between the vertebrae and serve as sponge-like cushions for the spine, absorbing various impacts as we go throughout each day. Each disc consists of cartilaginous cells within a matrix of water, collagen fibers, and protein. The outer wall, or the annulus fibrosus, is a tough band of fibers that surrounds a gelatinous inner disc material, known as the nucleus pulposus. The discs, along with the other components of the spine, allow us to have an enormous range of motion to bend, twist, and turn within several directional planes. A lifetime of such movements puts a lot of stress and pressure on the spine, particularly in the cervical (neck) and lumbar (lower back) regions.

Development of a Bulging Disc

As previously mentioned, aging is considered one of the main bulging disc causes. As we grow older, the intervertebral discs begin to lose a significant amount of water. This dehydration causes discs to become brittle instead of pliable. As the vertebrae above and below an affected disc continue to exert pressure on the disc material, the structural integrity of the annulus fibrosus covering can be compromised. The inner disc material may then shift outward and cause the weakened outer wall to expand past its normal boundary and into the spinal canal. While most cases of this condition are asymptomatic, a bulging disc sometimes causes compression of the spinal cord or a nerve root. If this occurs, pain at the site of compression can develop, as well as radiating pain, tingling, weakness, and numbness in the upper or lower extremities. An affected disc may also become painful in and of itself if the tiny nerves that feed into the disc are damaged or irritated as a result of a disc bulge or tear.

Other Bulging Disc Causes

Besides aging, other causes of the condition can include:

• Genetics
• Using tobacco products
• Obesity
• Traumatic injury
• Repetitive movements or motions


If a bulging disc causes symptoms to arise in a patient, a doctor may suggest a course of conservative (non-surgical) treatments to initially combat pain. Such methods usually include pain medication, physical therapy, and hot/cold therapy, among others. Treating a bulging disc with a surgical procedure is typically not recommended immediately after diagnosis. Doctors will usually only suggest surgery to patients whose symptoms have not responded to several weeks or months of conservative treatments.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Swimming And Other Spinal Arthritis Treatment Methods

Spinal arthritis treatment typically begins conservatively, or non-surgically, because most symptoms associated with the condition can be managed indefinitely through conservative treatments. In fact, there are a number of effective non-surgical treatments available for patients with spinal arthritis, but perhaps one of the most beneficial methods is swimming.

How Swimming Can Help Treat Arthritis

There are more than 100 types of arthritis and millions of people around the world suffer from some form of the disease. Osteoarthritis is the most frequently diagnosed form, which typically affects the knees, hips, fingers, and the spine. Our bodies are subjected to high levels of stress and pressure as we stand, sit, walk, run, bend, twist, and turn, and our joints tend to bear the brunt of this stress. Spinal osteoarthritis is defined as the deterioration of the soft, friction-reducing cartilage lining the facet joints of the spine and symptoms of inflammation, tenderness, joint stiffness, and pain may develop as a result.

Swimming as spinal arthritis treatment can help relieve joint pain for several reasons, including:

• Less stress on the back – On the ground, we are subjected to the forces of gravity, but in water, we are buoyant. This means less pressure is placed on an arthritic spine while in the water.

• Reduced joint and muscular pain – As a result of the reduced stress placed on the spine while swimming, a spinal arthritis patient may find that joints become less painful while in the water. Plus, swimming in warm water can help alleviate muscle tension and promote overall relaxation.

• A lowered risk of additional injury – Some high-impact exercises can cause more damage to arthritic joints. Swimming is a low-impact exercise and is less likely to cause additional injuries to the back or neck.

Additional Exercises for Spinal Arthritis Treatment

Although exercising may seem counterproductive to alleviating spinal arthritis pain, low-impact exercises can be often provide a number of helpful benefits, including:

• Increasing oxygen-rich blood flow near painful areas to provide nutrients to damaged joints and flush waste products
• Reducing joint pain and stiffness
• Strengthening core muscles to better support the spine
• Maintaining overall health and weight
• Producing endorphins, the body’s natural pain reliever

Walking, gardening, and light aerobics are additional low-impact exercises besides swimming that spinal arthritis patients may find beneficial. Long, deep stretching techniques and methods, such as those taught in yoga, tai chi, and Pilates may also provide arthritis pain relief because they elongate the spine and help expand narrowed spaces in the spinal column.

However, remember to always consult your doctor and/or physical therapist before beginning any new exercise regimen, as some exercises could worsen your condition and intensify your symptoms.

Other Treatment Methods

Your doctor or spine specialist may suggest additional conservative treatments to help alleviate spinal arthritis pain. Options may include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), hot and/or cold therapies, physical therapy, and facet joint injections. These conservative methods – including swimming and the other exercises mentioned above – are usually able to provide effective relief from spinal arthritis symptoms after several weeks or months of treatment. As a result, surgery is rarely suggested as a spinal arthritis treatment option and is reserved only for patients suffering debilitating pain who have exhausted all non-surgical methods.