Jingle, jingle, jingle… what is that sound? It is the jingle bells on the shoe laces of all the MidSouth Pain Treatment Center employees running through the streets of Memphis and Jackson, Tennessee. Did that first sentence leave you scratching your head? Hmmm, what is this blog talking about? We’re talking about the new partnership between MidSouth Pain Treatment Center and the Arthritis Foundation! Over the next two weeks there will be two Jingle Bell Runs to raise awareness for people suffering with arthritis. The doctors, nurses, and all members of MidSouth Pain Treatment Center will be proudly running their hearts out for our patients and community that we love. Don’t be surprised if you see our own CEO and Medical Director, Dr. Michael E. Steuer run past wearing his favorite holiday ugly sweater!
MidSouth Pain Treatment Center recognizes this partnership as a tremendous opportunity to raise awareness and give back to our patients and community. Arthritis is something we are all familiar with, unfortunately, it is everywhere. 350 million people worldwide suffer from arthritis, with over 40 million in America alone.
This blog is going to address arthritis of the neck and back along with spondylosis, a condition that often goes hand-in-hand with arthritis. Unfortunately, arthritis can occur in any joint where the surface of the cartilage can wear down; resulting in bone spurs which can cause pain.
The vertebrae of the spine are joined on the backside by two separate joints called the facet joints and they each have a disc in the front which acts like a shock absorber. The facet joints allow your neck and back to be flexible, allowing you to twist, and bend forward and backward. Normally, these facet joints contain cartilage, which allows your neck and back vertebrae to move easily without grinding against each other without pain.
Spondylosis, simply stated, refers to the “wear and tear” or degenerative process of the vertebral joints in the neck and back (arthritis). As we age, our bodies undergo a process of deterioration whereas the bones (vertebrae) in our neck and back slowly degenerate, which frequently results in arthritis, causing mild to moderate neck and back pain and stiffness.
Contributing factors include:
- Advanced age
- Occupation (Jobs that involve repetitive neck and back motions, awkward positioning causing stress on your neck and back)
- Previous neck, back, or spine injury
- History of ruptured or slipped disc
- Family history of neck and back pain
Oftentimes symptoms of cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spondylosis include neck pain, stiffness, headache (typically in the back of the head) and shoulder. Spinal arthritis pain, or spondylosis, can also manifest in the upper arms, back of the hips, and back of the thigh.
Treatment for spondylosis of the neck, upper, mid, and low back depends on the severity of your symptoms. People living with chronic pain from arthritis usually understand that it can be difficult to find a treatment plan that works well for them. Typical treatment plans may include:
- Medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to help reduce swelling which helps reduce pain and other analgesics as indicated to relieve pain when NSAIDs are not indicated due to other medical conditions or are no longer effective.
- Physical therapy may offer some relief of pain and improved joint mobility to include stretching and strengthening weak or strained muscles to help reduce the pressure on nerve roots.
- Steroid injections – offer short-term relief to reduce swelling and treat acute flare-ups.
Interventional pain treatments can be quite helpful in managing the pain associated with arthritis of the neck and back. Specifically, an anesthetic agent is injected near the nerves that allow you to feel your joints. If the joints are an important cause of your pain, then numbing these nerves will also render these joints numb, and this typically takes away the pain. Once we are able to prove that these joints are the cause of your pain, we usually destroy these nerves with radiofrequency energy. This usually results in very high quality pain relief for nine months or more.
In closing, Arthritis is a serious condition that can have debilitating effects. When not running through the streets of Tennessee, the medical professionals at MidSouth Pain Treatment Center understand how you feel, and want you to know that you don’t have to live with your arthritis pain. There are proven treatment options available to you. Take back control of your back! Lose your neck pain. Conquer your pain and grab a jingle bell and join us in raising awareness about arthritis.
To view more information about Tennessee’s Jingle Bell Runs, please follow the below links:
Click here for Memphis.
Click here for Jackson.