Back pain due to Osteoarthritis: What relieves

If cervical osteoarthritis can cause a stiff neck and sometimes headaches, it is lumbar osteoarthritis (or lumbarthrosis) that causes the most pain. To make them more bearable on a daily basis, it is recommended to combine the solutions. Here is a guide about back pain due to Osteoarthritis.


  1. Engage in physical activity
  2. Use drugs
  3. Opt for corticosteroid infiltration
  4. Lose weight to relieve lumbar osteoarthritis
  5. Turning to natural alternatives
  6. Ineffective solutions for lumbar osteoarthritis

In the case of lumbar osteoarthritis the discs wear out and increase the pressure on the vertebrae. In reaction, the vertebrae make more bone: it is the famous parrot beak. These bony growths compress nerves in or out of the lumbar canal and cause inflammation. “The most typical is a pain in the lower back which increases during walking and makes it necessary to stop before leaving”, explains experts.

“There is no perfectly effective treatment for osteoarthritis,” say experts. The solution is to combine approaches that have shown a benefit:

Engage in physical activity

Even if the pain increases with movement, moving is the number one recommendation of doctors because it helps to fight against stiffening of the vertebrae . Inserm recommends 2 to 3 sessions of at least 30 minutes per week in the event of osteoarthritis .

Cycling is a sport that brings the most benefits. The gentle gyms (yoga, swimming …) are also popular with patients, “says experts.

Walking is recommended, outside of the push period. Asymmetrical sports or with repeated jolts and impacts (tennis, running …) tend to increase pain.

Using drugs

The anti-inflammatory drugs orally (ibuprofen …) can sometimes relieve. For osteoarthritis of the knee or hip, diclofenac (150 mg/day) was the most effective. Because of its side effects (gastrointestinal, renal and cardiovascular), it should be taken only when the pain increases and becomes very troublesome, every 6 hours, if possible not more than 7 to 10 days.

Opt for corticosteroid infiltration

They are performed in the joint of the vertebra, to calm the inflammation when the lumbar osteoarthritis is accompanied by sciatica, a narrowed lumbar canal or if the pain persists at night. “There are few studies on the subject but they relieve about two out of three patients for a few weeks,” experts. It’s interesting if you only have one to two large outbreaks per year, but not if you have to renew them often: you avoid making more than three per year. Useless to persist if one or two infiltrations did not bring any relief.

Namely: They are reimbursed in part by Health Insurance but there are significant overruns (generally around one hundred euros), sometimes covered by mutuals.

Lose weight to relieve lumbar osteoarthritis

Even if the effect is less clear than for osteoarthritis of the knee or hip , reducing overweight allows to reduce the stresses exerted on the spine. Losing 7-10% of your initial weight (for example 10 kg if you weigh 100 kg) already helps a lot.

Turning to natural alternatives

The osteopathy and chiropractic can help regain more mobility and avoid stiffness by relaxing the tissues around the vertebrae. Attention: the manipulations should never hurt!

Ineffective solutions for lumbar osteoarthritis

  • Food supplements such as chondroitin and glucosamine. “If certain studies are encouraging in osteoarthritis of the knee, there is no evidence of their effectiveness in dorsal osteoarthritis,” says the expert.
  • Paracetamol is not more effective than placebo on the pain of lumbar osteoarthritis.
  • Hyaluronic acid infiltrations are less effective than for peripheral joints (knee, hip …).


Disclaimer: All the above details are for information only. Please consult your doctor before taking any medications or treatment stated.


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