Is your lower back pain a sign of osteoarthritis?

Lower back pain is common in adults of all ages and the causes can vary, along with the amount of pain you may feel. Osteoarthritis affects mostly older people, aged 60 upwards and can affect any joint in the body as well as the spine. If you have osteoarthritis of the spine, you will feel it mostly in the neck and lower back as these are the most mobile parts. So how do you know if your lower back pain is indicative of osteoarthritis? Let's look at the symptoms and what can be done about the condition.  


Signs of osteoarthritis vary with the individual and you may have one or all of the following symptoms. You may also feel them with severe pain or a mild discomfort.

Symptoms include:

  • Stiffness in the spine after exercise or bending.
  • Pain in the lower back.
  • This pain may spread and be felt in your hips and thighs.
  • Feeling weak in your back.

If you also have osteoarthritis in any other part of your body, you may feel stiffness, pain or weakness in:

  • Your knees (which will result in trouble walking).
  • Your groin (a symptom of osteoarthritis in the hip).
  • The joints of your fingers (which may also swell or develop benign cysts).
  • Your wrists (at the base of your thumb).

If you are at all concerned, visit your doctor or chiropractor.


Your doctor or chiropractor will examine the areas where you're feeling pain and ask you questions about it. They may also do an x-ray to ensure that there is no movement of the spinal discs in order to diagnose osteoarthritis.

There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but the symptoms can be managed. Once you've been diagnosed your doctor or chiropractor will set out a plan for you and advise you on how to reduce the pain you're experiencing.

Movement is important in managing osteoarthritis, to keep the joints and muscles as healthy as possible. So your doctor may refer you to a chiropractor (like those at Surfers Paradise Chiropractic Centre) if you haven't already visited one. Your chiropractor will give you exercises and may recommend classes such as yoga or tai chi to help keep your back strong.

To manage the pain, try a hot or cold pain resting against the small of your back when at home. Massage may also help and your chiropractor may be able to provide this. If the pain is bad, your doctor or chiropractor can prescribe pain killers of a strength suitable to your individual circumstances.  

While osteoarthritis is not curable, it is manageable. There is no reason that you cannot continue living the life you want to once you've found a way to manage the pain.