Spinal Arthritis Spinal Arthritis

Spinal Arthritis

Spinal arthritis is inflammation of the facet joints in the spine or the joints between the spine and the pelvis. It may be related to wear and tear, autoimmune disorders, infection, and other conditions.


  • Stiffness - whole back and/or neck
  • Pain - back and/or neck
  • Pain and stiffness worsen in the morning and evening
  • A sensation of pinching, tingling, or numbness 
  • Pain aggravated by physical activity 
  • Loss of mobility 


  • Degeneration (above age 50)
  • Wear and tear
  • Injuries and trauma
  • Obesity 
  • Autoimmune conditions (especially for RA)
  • Family history or heredity
  • Poor posture

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Frequently Asked Questions

What happens when you have arthritis in your spine?

Tingling, numbness, weakness, or sharp shooting pains in your arms or legs if nerves of the spine are affected. Headaches (when the upper, or cervical, spine is affected) Pain/swelling/stiffness in other joints, such as knees, hands, and feet (common in inflammatory arthritis).

What imaging techniques may be used to diagnose spinal arthritis?
  • X-rays may show joint changes and bone damage found in some types of arthritis
  • Ultrasound uses sound waves (not radiation) to see the quality of synovial tissue, tendons, ligaments, and bones.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • CT Scan
What should you avoid with arthritis in your back?

People with osteoarthritis in the lumbar spine may want to avoid deep bending at the waist or deep twisting. People with cervical spine osteoarthritis should avoid putting extra pressure on the head and neck, such as doing headstands in yoga classes.