What is Lumbar Arthritis?

Lumbar arthritis is the deterioration of the cartilage in the lumbar facet joints of the lower back. The joints connect each of the vertebrates of the spinal column together. The cartilage is a flexible firm tissue that separates the bones and protects the joints upon movement.

Causes & Symptoms of Lumbar Arthritis

There are many factors that contribute to the onset and intensity of lumbar arthritis.

  • Age is the most common cause of lumbar arthritis. Symptoms start appearing at age 45.

  • Obesity: Extra weight causes the vertebrae the to rub against each other deteriorating the joints

  • Injury: Caused by sports, accidents and/or work

  • Heredity: Family history may involve deformed joints and bad cartilage

  • Gender: It occurs twice as much in women than men

Symptoms may include:

  • Stiffness especially after inactivity such as sleep

  • Swelling and inflammation of the facet joints

  • Pain in the lower back or joint(s)

  • Weakness and numbing of buttocks, thighs, legs and feet

  • Difficulty walking or bending due to a limited range of motion

  • Curvature of the spine

  • Pinching and tingling sensation in the nerves of the spinal cord radiating into legs


How is this condition treated with PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma)?

PRP, platelet rich plasma, is plasma that naturally occurs in blood. Human blood consists of 1% plasma and platelets, 6% white cells and 93% red cells. The red blood cells are removed from the blood so that it contains a high level of plasma and platelets only. Plasma not only helps the blood clot, but is has critical role in healing injuries. The platelet rich plasma releases growth factors that attract stem cells to the injured tissue, minimizes tissue healing time and increases tissue reparation.

When injected into the lumbar facet joints, platelet rich plasma heals the cartilage causing a reduction in the pain and improved functionality. It can also prevent further degeneration from occurring.

The treatment can be performed in the doctor’s office and takes about one hour. Blood is drawn from the patient. Plasma is then extracted from the blood and injected into the joints using x-rays for accuracy. Depending on the severity of the osteoarthritis, up to six injections may be required. Significant improvement may be seen after two injections.