When Osteoarthritis is the Cause of Your Chronic Lower Back Pain

When Osteoarthritis is the Cause of Your Chronic Lower Back Pain

In honor of Arthritis Awareness Month, our team of providers wants to take this time to highlight this common (but often misunderstood) condition. There are over 100 types of arthritis, but osteoarthritis is the most common form. It's a chronic condition that contributes to the breakdown of cartilage in your joints, leading to pain, stiffness, and limited mobility. 

Osteoarthritis often affects the knees, hips, shoulders, and, unfortunately, the joints in the spine too. Chronic lower back pain can be a sign of this condition. 

If you're suffering from chronic lower back pain, it's essential to understand the causes and possible treatments available to you. Here's what you need to know about osteoarthritis, how it can contribute to lower back pain, and what you can do about it.

How osteoarthritis affects your lower back

Osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body, including your lower back. The condition causes the cartilage, which acts as a cushion between the bones, to wear down, leading to bone-on-bone contact. This friction can cause pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility in the lower back.

Some of the factors that can increase your risk of developing osteoarthritis in the lower back include:


As you age, the cartilage in your joints naturally begins to wear down, making you more susceptible to developing osteoarthritis. Many people even call this the "wear and tear" type of arthritis.


Your genes can affect whether you develop osteoarthritis; certain genetic mutations may make you more likely to develop this condition. Remember, however, that just because you have a family history of arthritis doesn't necessarily mean you'll develop the condition. There are still many risk factors that are within your control. For example, you can help fight inflammation by eating an anti-inflammatory diet and exercising regularly. 


Previous injuries to your lower back can increase the likelihood of developing osteoarthritis in the injured area.


Excess weight, especially in the abdominal area, can contribute to back pain. Being overweight increases your risk of arthritis by placing extra pressure on the joints, including your knees, hips, and back. 

How to manage lower back pain from osteoarthritis

If you're experiencing chronic lower back pain, speaking with your International Spine, Pain & Performance Center provider is essential. There are many potential causes of back pain, and osteoarthritis is just one of them. Our team can diagnose whether osteoarthritis is the cause of your pain and recommend appropriate treatment options. 

Once we’ve confirmed that osteoarthritis is the source of your back pain, we may suggest some of these potential treatment options:

In many cases, treating arthritis from multiple approaches (including lifestyle modifications and treatments) may provide the best relief.

Take action against osteoarthritis in your back

Questions about back pain? Take a stand against back pain this May, and reach out to us. Managing your condition can reduce your pain and improve your quality of life.

Schedule an appointment in our Arlington, Virginia, or Washington DC, office to explore your treatment options.

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