Degenerative joint disease treatment is usually intended to alleviate the patient’s symptoms and increase mobility of the affected joint. If symptoms result from neural compression, the cause of symptoms may be surgically corrected. However, no treatment to correct the cause of degenerative joint disease itself yet exists. Instead, when a patient suffers from degenerative joint disease, the goal of treatment is to non-surgically suppress the patient’s symptoms meaningfully. Spinal surgery should only be considered as a last resort after all other more conservative options have proven ineffective.
Degenerative joint disease is most often caused by nothing more than the regular aging process, although environmental factors like injury, obesity, years of smoking, and prolonged repetitive activities can all exacerbate the onset of arthritis as well. The vertebral joints in the spine are cartilage-lined structures that stabilize the spine and allow the vertebrae to articulate without grinding against one another. Osteoarthritis occurs as the cartilage begins to wear and away and bone-on-bone contact occurs.
Generally speaking, if a patient is experiencing symptoms that can be associated with degenerative joint disease, treatment is normally first attempted with a series of noninvasive treatments. Some of the most commonly recommended techniques include:
- Pain medication, muscle relaxants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Physical therapy
- Deep tissue massage
- Low-impact exercises and stretching programs
- Healthy diet
- Behavior modification
- Alternative treatments such as yoga, acupuncture, and herbal supplements
In the event that the patient does not experience sufficient pain relief from these treatments, spine surgery may be recommended to remove the arthritic joint from the spine. If you are considering undergoing an open spine surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how one of our state-of-the-art, minimally invasive procedures may help you recover spinal health without the need for traditional open spine surgery.