What Causes Arthritis in the Back?

What Causes Arthritis in the Back?

Arthritis in the back severely impacts daily activities and overall life quality. Unfortunately, most people are unaware of what causes arthritis in the back and, therefore, have no idea how to prevent it. Without the proper knowledge of this illness, symptoms can worsen and threaten their health.

To avoid such a scenario, in this article, we have gone into detail about "what is arthritis of the spine," its symptoms, and the necessary treatments to alleviate it.

Fivali Arthritis in The Back - Guide


What Causes Arthritis in the Back?

There are many contributing factors to what causes arthritis in the back. For example, some people wonder, ‘Does cracking your back cause arthritis?’ Here are specific analyses of these factors:

  • Age: The risk of developing arthritis in the lower back and spine increases with age. This happens as the wear and tear of the joints in the spine gradually advances over time.
  • Obesity: Excess body weight puts an overwhelming amount of stress on the spine and eventually increases the risk of arthritis in the spine.
  • Genetic Disorders: A family history of arthritis or related conditions can also be what causes arthritis in the back. While not an inherited disease, it can still increase the likelihood of developing spinal arthritis in the future.
  • Excessive Exercise: Excessive exercise can lead to arthritis in the back due to overuse and repetitive stress on the spinal joints, such as from high-impact activities, improper lifting techniques, and insufficient rest times.
  • Accidental Injuries: Accidental injuries to the spine, like fractures, dislocations, and sprains, can lead to abnormal wear and tear. These injuries can cause the breakdown of the cartilage.
  • Secondary Diseases: Sometimes, a secondary diseaselike lupus or infection causes arthritis in the back. These diseases then give rise to inflammation, which damages the spinal joints and surrounding tissues.
  • Occupational Factors: Jobs that require repetitive motions, heavy lifting, and maintaining the same positions for extended periods wear down the cartilage and increase back arthritis risks. The same can be said for office jobs that require sitting in one position all day.


Types of Arthritis in Lower Back

Now that we’ve learned what causes arthritis in the back, let’s go into depth with some of its types:

  1. Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Spine

It’s an autoimmune disorder. The immune system attacks the joint lining, causing joint pain, tenderness, fever, and swelling. This can further lead to burning pain in the neck and back, which slowly radiates down to the rest of the body.

In severe cases, it also causes physical disabilities. Uncontrolled inflammation in the spine can cause significant erosion of its bones and joints, resulting in physical deformities and permanent structural damage. 

  1. Osteoarthritis of the Spine

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease. This type of arthritis is caused by the slow wear and tear of cartilage around joints in the back due to old age, injury, excessive weight, etc.

Once the cartilage around the spinal joints becomes thinner and the surfaces rougher, the body will feel stiff and sore. The pain is usually more serious when bending or twisting the back.

  1. Spondyloarthritis

It’s a group of inflammatory diseases primarily affecting the spine and joints. It causes inflammation in the lower back, the sacroiliac joints (where the spine-pelvis meets), and other areas of the body.

Common types of osteoarthritis include ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis, etc.

This type of disease has a strong correlation with the HLA-B27 gene, and the proportion of patients with HLA-B27 positivity is relatively high. [1] Although this isn't the sole gene that causes spondyloarthritis, it can increase your risk of developing it.


Common Symptoms of Arthritis in the Back

While understanding what causes arthritis in the spine, you have learned the most common symptom is inflammation. Here are other troubling symptoms that cause arthritis in the spine, including:

  • Swelling and tenderness over the affected vertebrae
  • Pain, swelling, and stiffness in other areas of the body
  • Headaches in cases of arthritis in the neck
  • Intense feeling of bone grinding against bone
  • Weakness and fatigue in the whole body
  • Numbness in the arms and legs once the nerves are affected
  • Loss of flexibility in the joints
Fivali Back Support for Work - Guide


How to Diagnose and Prevent Arthritis in the Back

Besides learning what causes arthritis in the back, the necessary measures to diagnose and prevent it also need to be known.

  1. Diagnostic Measures

Diagnostic measures include tests done by doctors to determine the severity of the disease. Doctors will then construct a treatment plan based on the diagnosis. Some procedures include:

  • Physical Examination: This is the first step to diagnosing arthritis in the back. During the examination, a medical professional assesses the patient's joint mobility, pain points, and spinal condition.
  • Imaging Tests: These tests involve taking X-rays, MRI scans, and CT scans to obtain a more detailed image of the spine.They’ll reveal any joint or tissue damage in the body and identify the extent of the arthritis.
  • Blood Tests: Medical professionals may use blood tests to support their diagnosis or rule out different types of arthritis. Tests include HLA-B27 gene testing, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and C-reactive protein.
  1. Preventive Measures

To lower the risk of developing arthritis in the back, one must adopt a few preventive measures, such as:

  • Remain Active: Engage in regular physical activity, like swimming, walking, or yoga. It’ll help strengthen the muscles supporting the spine and improve joint health.
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Excessive weight can strain and stress the spinal joints, so it’s better to aim for a healthier body. We can do that by maintaining a balanced diet and exercising regularly.
  • Use a Back Brace: A back brace can be especially beneficial for people who have physically demanding tasks. It may be considered the best back support for work as it maintains proper spine alignment and reduces the risk of injury.


How to Treat Arthritis in the Back

You may be wondering, "What is the best treatment for arthritis in the lower back?" Fortunately, we have discovered a helpful answer to that as well.

Now that we know what causes arthritis in the back, let’s go into depth about its treatments. Some of these include:

  1. Medication

Most doctors recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to help with back pain, swelling, and inflammation. Common examples of these drugs include aspirin and ibuprofen. Since these are over-the-counter drugs, anyone can purchase them without needing a prescription.

  1. Physical Therapy

Can physical therapy help arthritis in lower back? Firstly, appropriate exercise helps to strengthen the back muscles and improve joint flexibility and stability. 

Secondly, wearing a back support for work can help support the spine and reduce pressure and pain. For example, a Fivali back brace can work great as it straightens patients’ spines and reduces stress on the muscles, making it easier for them to perform physical therapy exercises.

  1. Surgery

Severe cases may require surgery, especially if the above treatments fail. Surgery may be needed when:

  • Arthritis in the back leads to severe spinal or joint stiffness and deformity, affecting the patient's daily life.
  • Causing nerve compression, requiring surgical decompression, reduction, and fusion to stabilize the spine.
  1. Adjust Habits

Besides the above treatment methods, patients can make a few other lifestyle adjustments to treat arthritis. This includes avoiding activities or occupations that strain the back, maintaining correct sitting and standing posture, and reducing weight, especially for obese patients.

Furthermore, it also helps to quit smoking if one does so. Not only does smoking worsen inflammation, but it interferes with any medication someone might be taking to treat it.

Fivali Back Brace for Exercise - Guide

Understanding what causes arthritis in the back is vital for its prevention and treatment. Additionally, early detection of its symptoms, regular exercise, and proper treatment can help eliminate the illness entirely.

If you’re looking for back support for work to help you stay active and injury-free during your exercise, visit Fivali’s website. Our exceptional fitness products help make exercising convenient for everyone, whether you’re at home or on the go.



[1]HLA-B27 Syndromes. Available at: (Accessed: 19 June 2024) 

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