Back Arthritis: Find out the Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Four out of five people experience back pain at some point in their lives. There are a lot of related issues to back pain such as the normal wear and tear of joints in the neck and spine, lifestyle and work environments, autoimmune diseases, inflammation, infections and quite possibly arthritis.  

Research has shown that people may have arthritis in the back without having any symptoms. 10% of people in their 30s have lumbar arthritis while 80% of people over the age of 80 will have at least one type of arthritis. 


Arthritis in the back is not one disease. It can be a series of underlying issues or arthritis in several parts of the body such as the neck and spine. Some of the symptoms can include the following: 

  • Back pain including the lower back 
  • Tingling, numbness, weakness, and/or sharp shooting pains in the arms and legs 
  • Headaches and fatigue  
  • Limited range of motion and experiencing stiffness and loss of flexibility in the back area 
  • Stiffness and loss of flexibility in the spine, such as being unable to straighten your back or turn your  
  • Pain/swelling/stiffness in other joints, such as knees, hands, and feet (common in inflammatory arthritis) 


There are several types of arthritis that can affect the back, yet it can be categorised as either mechanical or inflammatory causes. 

  • Mechanical causes include osteoarthritis and is more common 
  • Inflammatory causes may include rheumatoid arthritis, axial spondyloarthritis and psoriatic arthritis.  

The differences between mechanical and inflammatory back pain can sometimes be subtle, so it is important to get the proper diagnosis so your condition can be treated accordingly. 


Other Possible Causes of Back Pain 

As mentioned, there are different types of arthritis that can affect the back including: 

  • Osteoarthritis 
  • Spondyloarthritis 
  • Axial Spondyloarthritis 
  • Psoriatic Arthritis 
  • Reactive Arthritis 
  • Enteropathic Arthritis 
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis 
  • Other conditions that can be the cause of back pain include Lumbar muscle strains, Sciatica, Scoliosis, Fibromyalgia, Degenerative Disk Diseases and other Spinal conditions such as Lumbar Spinal Stenosis. 


Diagnosis of Back Arthritis

X-rays are usually the first imaging tests ordered to see any joint damage and bone spurs. Other tests such as MRI, CT scans, Ultrasounds, Bone Scans may be conducted to show soft tissue damage with muscles, ligaments, and bulging discs. 

You should see your doctor immediately if you are experiencing symptoms stated above or other concerning manifestations such as tingling or numbness in your leg, and if you are prone to infections. 

It is also important to take note of relevant information regarding your condition and how you have been managing it so your doctor/clinician can best put a plan together for you. 

Your doctor may ask questions such as where the pain is occurring, how long you have been experiencing pain, the severity of your condition, activities that induce pain, and how it affects your daily life. 


Treatment for Back Arthritis

Treatment for arthritis in the back can depend on several factors including age, severity of pain, and the type of arthritis that is affecting the area. Joint damage caused by arthritis is irreversible, but it can be effectively managed and potentially slow down the progress.  

Whilst common medications such as  

  • Analgesics and Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) 
  • Corticosteroids 
  • Radiofrequency Ablation 
  • Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs) 

may be prescribed and utilised, it is important that an over reliance on medication does not occur resulting in tolerance and lower effectiveness of the drug which in turn may result in further ongoing pain and immobility.  

The use of medical-grade back supports provides relief and compression to the affected joints and serves as a treatment for degenerative conditions of the lumbar spine. Given it is a non-invasive approach with research papers proving a further stimulation of surrounding muscle activity, patients can be confident that a medical grade back support will assist with pain relief and improving day to day mobility.  

For assistance in selecting the right product for your needs, visit our back supports page or contact Bauerfeind on 1300 668 466. 

Do you have private health? Most private health extras will cover Bauerfeind Products, check to see if yours is included. Bauerfeind Private Health Insurance Inquiry. 

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Pain management and prevention can be done by maintaining healthy habits and adapting to a few lifestyle changes: 

  • Weight management and weight loss can be beneficial in preventing further joint damage and ensuring support throughout the back area 
  • Staying active and engaging in sports, indoor and outdoor activities, walking, etc. 
  • Physical Therapy is a good way to monitor body conditions 


Maintaining a mindful lifestyle and incorporating healthy habits with your diet and activities can help prevent early signs of back arthritis. Be sure to check with a medical professional in order to be certain of your diagnosis and which treatments are the most suitable for your condition. 

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