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The Dangers of Spinal Osteoarthritis

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Written By Holly Gish

Osteoarthritis of the spine is a degenerative disease. If it is left untreated, back and neck pain may get worse over time. Osteoarthritis cannot be reversed, but treatment can slow down its progression, help control pain, and restore some or all of normal function.

Strengthening and stretching the neck and back is crucial to treating spinal osteoarthritis. Strong, flexible back and neck muscles support the spine and ease pressure on the vertebral discs and facet joints, helping to limit the worsening of symptoms. At Specht Physical therapy, our therapists perform a comprehensive movement evaluation and create a patient specific exercise program to help build strength and endurance, increase range of motion, and improve overall health.

~ Neck and back exercises to build strength. Exercises that increase muscle strength will help support arthritic joints and reduce the stress put on them.
~ Low impact aerobic exercise. Aerobic activities keep the lungs, heart, respiratory and circulatory systems in shape, as well as help control weight. Popular activities that do not place undue stress on the spine include walking, stationary cycling, and exercising in the water (e.g. water therapy or pool therapy).
~ Range of motion exercises. These exercises are focused on keeping the back joints limber, relieving stiffness, and maintaining normal joint motion in the back.

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Here is one of our favorite exercises for spinal stability: