Spinal disorders autoimmune disk degeneration
by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR
Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.
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Spinal disorders may be due to many different forms of arthritis and disk degeneration. Some of these involve wear-and-tear and others are autoimmune in nature.
Osteoarthritis, is the most common form of arthritis and is likely to occur in middle-aged and older people. It is a chronic, degenerative process that may involve multiple joints of the body. The disease is characterized by the wearing away of surface cartilage of joints, and is often accompanied by overgrowth of bone, formation of bone spurs, and impaired function.
Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease, which usually affects people at an earlier age than osteoarthritis does is associated with inflammation and enlargement of the soft tissues of the joints. It ordinarily does not affect the low back but may cause significant issues in the neck.
Ankylosing spondylitis, is an inflammatory disease that is immune-based and which may progresses over many years. It usually begins in the sacroiliac joints. It can then progress to involve higher areas of the spine and sometimes major joints including the hips and shoulders. AS may also affect internal organs.
Reiter's Syndrome, which is another form of inflammatory arthritis that produces pain, swelling, redness and heat in the joints. This. Like AS, is one of a family of arthritic disorders, called spondylarthropathies, which affects the spine and commonly involves the joints of the spine and sacroiliac.
Psoriatic arthritis, the arthritis that accompanies psoriasis, also may affect the spin in a similar fashion to that seen for Reiter's disease. Peripheral arthritis is also a common feature of psoriatic arthritis. The arthritis is accompanied by enthesitis which is inflammation at tendon attachments into bone.
Inflammatory bowel disease is another condition that may cause spinal inflammation due to autoimmune factors.
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