Arthritis Specialist

Steel City Spine and Orthopedic Center

Spine & Orthopedic Surgeon in Pittsburgh, McKees Rocks, and Washington, PA

Arthritis has more than 100 forms, but the most common by far is osteoarthritis. If you have arthritis in your spine, board-certified spine and orthopedic surgeon Jocelyn Idema, DO, at Steel City Spine and Orthopedic Center can help. Dr. Idema and her team provide both conservative treatments and advanced surgical interventions for patients with arthritis, offering you a release from the pain and reduced mobility of this widespread disease. Call the office in Pittsburgh, McKees Rocks, and Washington, Pennsylvania, today to schedule a consultation, or book an appointment using the online form.


What is arthritis?

Arthritis is a painful joint condition that has more than 100 forms. Some or all of your joints might be affected by arthritis, including the facet joints in your spine. 

Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, develops because of the effects of wear-and-tear on your joints. 

All of the joints in your body have at least two bones coming together. The ends of these bones are covered by a layer of tough, slippery cartilage, which keeps the bones from rubbing against each other.

As you age, the constant wear on your joints leads to the cartilage breaking down and wearing away, exposing the raw bones underneath. Without their protective cartilage, the bones rub together, which causes osteoarthritis.

What are the symptoms of arthritis?

While arthritis has multiple forms, every type causes joint pain. You’re likely to have some stiffness, and possibly swelling, in your joints. The affected joints feel hot and might throb. The pain often comes on slowly, starting with a dull ache and becoming progressively more intolerable.

Pain and stiffness in your neck and back are often worse when you first get up in the morning, then improve as you loosen up. By evening, your symptoms could be worse again, and you might have trouble sleeping or awaken frequently.

Your spine might hurt if you press on it, and you might experience sensations such as pinching, tingling, or numbness. You could develop crepitus, which is a crunching feeling or the noise of bone rubbing against bone when you move, especially in your neck.

Your symptoms are likely to be worse in cold, wet weather or if you undertake more physical activity than normal. Stress can also make your symptoms worse. Advanced arthritis can cause your joints — including your spine — to distort and twist.

What are the treatments for arthritis?

There’s no cure for arthritis, but Dr. Idema can provide effective treatments that reduce your discomfort and improve your mobility. Interventions that could form part of your treatment plan for arthritis at Steel City Spine and Orthopedic Center include:

  • Lifestyle changes
  • Pain relief medication
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Steroid injections

For most patients, these nonoperative approaches are effective in relieving the symptoms of arthritis. However, if you have problems like degenerative spondylolisthesis, which causes spinal instability, or a narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis), which causes pinched nerves, you might benefit from surgery.

The main types of surgery Dr. Idema offers for arthritis are spinal fusion, where she joins two vertebrae together, or laminectomy to remove bone spurs and thickened ligaments that are causing nerve compression.

Find out more about relieving the disabling symptoms of arthritis by calling Steel City Spine and Orthopedic Center today, or you can book an appointment online.