What is Spinal Enthesopathy: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

What Is Spinal Enthesopathy?

Spinal Enthesopathy is a pathological condition involving the ligaments present in the spinal canal which get damaged as a result of inflammation. This condition is usually seen in individuals above the age of 40. Enthesophytes are present in the areas of the body where the ligament attaches to the bones. In cases of an inflammation, there is damage to the ligaments resulting in what we call as enthesopathy. Although enthesopathy can occur in any part of the body especially the joints, when it occurs in the spinal canal it is termed as Spinal Enthesopathy.

The primary characteristic feature of a Spinal Enthesopathy is stiffness and pain along the cervical, thoracic or lumbar spines. In cases of a cervical Spinal Enthesopathy there will be neck pain with stiffness and difficulty moving the neck.

What Is Spinal Enthesopathy?

In cases of a lumbar Spinal Enthesopathy, the affected individual will have persistent back pain which may be variable in severity and will make activities of daily living difficult to perform. The affected individual may also find it difficult to be productive at work as a result of Spinal Enthesopathy. In some cases, individuals with another condition called psoriatic arthritis also tend to develop Spinal Enthesopathy.

What Causes Spinal Enthesopathy?

Ankylosing Spondylitis is the primary cause of a Spinal Enthesopathy. This is a chronic form of spondylitis affecting primarily males which damages the spinal mobility. The bones in the spine may also become rigid as a result of this condition.

What Are The Symptoms Of Spinal Enthesopathy?

The symptoms experienced by an individual with Spinal Enthesopathy will depend on the area of the spine that is involved. Normally the cervical and the lumbar spines are involved as they are the parts of the spinal canal which are used the most during day to day activities.

In cases of a cervical Spinal Enthesopathy, the affected individual will experience neck stiffness along with neck pain which may or may not radiate to the upper extremities. The individual will find it difficult to move the neck in either direction without pain.

In lumbar Spinal Enthesopathy, the affected individual will have persistent back pain which will affect the mobility of the spine. The individual will find it difficult to bend and pick up something from the floor. Individuals who perform bending and heavy lifting on a repetitive basis as a part of their work routine will find it difficult to perform their daily duties which will ultimately affect their productivity. Ambulation for long distances also gets affected by Lumbar Spinal Enthesopathy.

The thoracic spine portion of the spinal canal is least affected as they remain pretty much stationary and are not involved in day to day activities of an individual and thus the ligaments of the thoracic spine very rarely get affected by Spinal Enthesopathy.

How Is Spinal Enthesopathy Treated?

The treatment for Spinal Enthesopathy is mainly conservative and involves use of steroids on a controlled basis as prolonged use of steroids may lead to unwanted complications.

The patient will be given NSAIDs for pain relief and calm down the inflammation and will also be advised to avoid activities that may aggravate the condition and intensify the symptoms.

The primary treatment for Spinal Enthesopathy however is given by Anti-TNF medications which not only calms down the inflammation but also help in the healing process of the ligaments which get damaged by Spinal Enthesopathy.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 19, 2022

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