Is it easy to cope with mild osteoarthritis of the spine?

Osteoarthritis of the spine typically involves pain and stiffness in the spinal joints, particularly in the neck and lower back regions [source: NIAMS]. Many people with mild osteoarthritis of the spine, however, experience few or no symptoms [source: Ray]. Therefore, it's fairly easy to cope with mild spinal osteoarthritis and it may take many years before osteoarthritis of the spine worsens. In any event, make sure you take the necessary precautions to reduce your risk of further damage. Consult your doctor about appropriate treatments and lifestyle changes.

You may experience minor back pain and stiffness for about half an hour when you first wake up in the morning. Go about your daily activities, as this pain and stiffness will go away with activity and movement. You may also wake up in the middle of the night due to minor back pain. You may feel intermittent back pain throughout the day, particularly if the affected area of your spine is compressed [source: Ray]. This may occur at the bottom of your spine if you have a poor sitting position, such as slouching. During your day, you may also experience minor tingling or numbness in your arms and legs. This is due to pressure on your spinal nerves [source: NIAMS]. Finally, you may also experienced spinal pain during physical activity. Back joint pains and aches are common early warning signs of osteoarthritis of the spine [source: Ray].


Mild osteoarthritis of the spine is well-managed with non-drug treatments. You may find relief by doing hot and cold treatments on your back, especially after physical activity. If you are overweight, consider losing weight, which can drastically reduce the pressure on your spine. Other non-drug treatments, such as alternative therapies and nutritional supplements, may also help. Over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen may help relieve minor pain and swelling [source: NIAMS].