A diagnosis of arthritis can feel like a life sentence. Because arthritis means pain, right?
Here’s the GOOD NEWS: arthritis is commonly non-painful! And even if your joint(s) has become painful due to arthritis, that does not necessarily mean it will continue to be painful.
Look at this table from a research study conducted in 2015*. Researchers went back through 3,110 low back MRIs of people who did not have low back pain. Check out how common degenerative changes (characteristics of arthritis) in the low back are at various ages (20 through 80). Remember, these are people WITHOUT pain! (For example: if you look at disk degeneration in 60 year-olds, 88% of people had signs of disc degeneration on their MRI, but had no pain).
Arthritis is a normal part of aging. And although arthritic changes are not reversible, your joint can still feel good! Often the key to managing arthritis is regaining joint flexibility and strength as well as other strategies your physical therapist will teach you. Your PT can help you learn how to protect and maintain the health of your joints for the long-term. This issue is most easily dealt with early so seek out help before your symptoms worsen!
*Brinjiki et al. Systemic Literature Review of Imaging Features of Spinal Degeneration in Asymptomatic Populations. American Journal of Neuroradiology 2015; 36:811-16