Neck and Lower Back Arthritis

Health professional evaluates woman with neck pain

Within the spinal column, there are several soft structures, including flexible cartilage and rubber-like discs. These help to support the spine, prevent injury, and cushion the vertebrae. Arthritis in the neck and lower back occurs when these structures begin to weaken and shrink. Pain or weakness can result from increased tension between vertebrae, causing bone spurs that can lead to compressed or “pinched” nerves in the spine. There are many different kinds of arthritis, the most common being osteoarthritis (usually occurs due to old age, strain from movement, or injury) and rheumatoid arthritis (occurs as a result of an autoimmune condition).

The most common treatment for arthritis of the neck and lower back includes some combination of lifestyle changes (diet and exercise), physical therapy, and pain medication (like over-the-counter pain relievers, NSAIDS, muscle relaxers, and mild narcotics). In some cases, the pain specialist may recommend steroid injections in the spine to block pain in the affected nerves. Although uncommon, surgery may become necessary to treat certain specific causes of neck and lower back arthritis pain.

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MedStar Washington Hospital Center Medical-Surgical Unit Receives AMSN PRISM Award® for Exemplary Practice

Washington, D.C. – The 5E Medical Oncology/Hematology Unit at MedStar Washington Hospital Center has received the prestigious AMSN PRISM Award®, an honor recognizing exceptional nursing practice, leadership, and outcomes in hospital medical-surgical units.

The award, which stands for “Premier Recognition In the Specialty of Med-Surg,” is the first of its kind honoring med-surg nursing units in the United States and internationally. It is co-sponsored by the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN) and the Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board (MSNCB). The award is given to outstanding acute care/med-surg units or adult/pediatric units classified as med-surg.

Andrea Melendez, MSN, RN, National Secretary of AMSN, presented the 5E Medical Oncology/Hematology team with the AMSN PRISM Award plaque during a ceremony Wednesday, August 14, on the unit. 

“I am so proud of the 5E team. This is such a phenomenal accomplishment,” said Tonya R. Washington, MSN, RN, senior vice president of nursing and chief nursing officer at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “We are so delighted that their excellent team work, patient care and outcomes are recognized with this prestigious award.”

Hoping to inspire nurses to strive for the highest levels of patient safety and quality, AMSN and MSNCB launched the award in October 2012. The award also reflects the compassion, commitment, and connection that characterize med-surg nurses.

There are more than 600,000 medical-surgical nurses practicing in the United States today, making them the single largest group of specialty nurses working in hospital settings, according to AMSN. Med-surg nurses oversee a broad spectrum of patient care responsibilities, another reason the acronym “PRISM” was chosen for the award.

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MedStar Washington Hospital Center is a 912-bed, major teaching and research hospital. It is the largest private, not-for-profit hospital in the nation’s capital, among the 100 largest hospitals in the nation and a major referral center for treating the most complex cases. Its cardiology program is highly acclaimed and its cardiac surgery program has consistently earned the highest national rating–three stars–from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. It also is a respected top facility in the areas of cancer, diabetes & endocrinology, Ear, Nose & Throat, gastroenterology & GI surgery, geriatrics, gynecology, nephrology, pulmonology and urology. It operates MedSTAR, a nationally-verified level I trauma center with a state-of-the-art fleet of helicopters and ambulances, and also operates the region’s only adult Burn Center.

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