I wanted to tell you this story not to get you scared but for all to be aware of some of the other diagnoses you can have with chronic spinal pain.
My friend and walking buddy had complained of feeling achy off and on, hip back and knees. Well, she is 60ish and active but ignored it for a year until it got unbearable. Xrays were negative and when she finally convinced her doc to do an mri, there was a herniated disc. So the doc gave her some loratab and sent her to pain management. My friends labs were fine except for an elevated c-rp (this detects inflammation or infection). Her Doc blamed it on her arthritis but it was extremely high. She left on a planned trip and was sick most of the time feeling nauseous which she blamed on the pain she was experiencing. When i saw her when she came home, i saw she was really sick and told her to go back to to see the doc. She hates going to the doc, but this time she did and he said it was probably a virus. Well, this "virus" lasted 2 weeks and when she went back he finally did further tests and she was diagnosed with cancer which had spread to her bone, ribs, spine and pelvis. It was shocking and quite scary.
Anyway, it has been difficult, but reminds one to make sure you have been COMPLETELY checked before saying that it is arthritis!! Please make sure you have a good internist that will rule out all other diseases.
I don't know how often this happens but it happened to my best friend right in front of my eyes. I do know that she did not regularly visit a doc for complete checkups and i never could convince her to do so.
Please make sure you take care of your WHOLE BODY. Back pain can be warning signs of other diseases. Ask your Doc about this!!