Degenerative joint disease (DJD) of the spine is also known as spinal osteoarthritis or spondylosis (spinal arthritis). The condition causes pain, stiffness, and inflammation due to wear and tear-related loss of facet joint articular cartilage. Facet joints are the paired joints located posteriorly between the adjacent vertebrae of the spine. While it can be accelerated by many factors, the main cause of DJD is aging. Osteoarthritis may occur at any stage in life, but it is widely diagnosed in patients between the ages of 45 and 60. Bone spurs (osteophytes), bulging or herniated discs, and nerve pain can all stem from the breakdown that occurs in and around the facet joint’s cartilage and lubricating fluid. If conservative treatments, such as rest, pain medication, and physical therapy have not decreased the pain from degenerative joint disease, alternative treatments may help you find relief.
Types of alternative treatments
Before starting any new course of treatment, especially those with an alternative track, consult a qualified physician and follow their instructions. The following non-surgical alternative treatments may be worth exploring as a potential symptom reliever.
- Herbal treatments and supplements – Herbal extracts, such as the Devil’s Claw, also known as Grapple plant or Wood Spider, from South Africa; and boswella from India, derived from the boswellia serrata tree; have anti-inflammatory properties and may reduce pain when taken three times daily. Glucosamine and chondroitin are also very popular options, but the reduction of degenerative joint disease symptoms with the use of these supplements vary.
- Acupuncture – Acupuncture is a Chinese method of healing, where tiny stainless steel needles are inserted into the body at specific energy-flowing points. The needles stimulate nearby nerves and trigger the brain to release endorphins, blocking pain messages that may be firing.
- Massage – Gentle massage therapy may loosen stiff muscles and help relieve pain.
- Spinal manipulation – Sessions with a chiropractor (a person trained in spinal manipulation and the spine’s relation to a healthy nervous system) may alleviate symptoms of degenerative joint disease.
Minimally invasive treatments
Alternative treatments may or may not bring you relief from your degenerative joint disease symptoms. To explore the minimally invasive surgical procedure option, contact our orthopedic specialists at Laser Spine Institute. Our highly trained experts employ advanced endoscopic techniques to treat neck and back pain, including symptoms and conditions resulting from osteoarthritis. Call us today for a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan.