The goal of degenerative joint disease treatment is to manage the pain and stiffness associated with this type of arthritis. This typically age-related condition affects the smooth cartilage that covers the joints, allowing them to glide smoothly over one another. As cartilage wears away, painful bone-on-bone contact can occur, causing inflammation and the formation of bone spurs, which are part of the body’s natural stabilizing response.
Degenerative joint disease typically develops gradually and can affect almost any joint in the body. The spine is especially vulnerable due to the weight placed upon it every day combined with its relative flexibility. The first sign of osteoarthritis of the spine is often a stiff neck or mild-to-moderate low back pain. Then, as arthritic changes in the spine progress, painful pressure on the spinal cord or sensitive nerve roots can result.
Can degenerative joint disease be prevented?
While the natural aging process and the changes that go along with it cannot be avoided, there are practical steps anyone can take to improve their overall health and the health of the spine. Taking a proactive approach to spine health can potentially slow down the development of this condition. Even if you have been diagnosed with degenerative joint disease, the following advice typically follows recommended lifestyle changes that doctors include with a treatment plan.
Improving your spine health
Toward that end, here are some health and wellness habits that can both help with existing symptoms or potentially reduce the need for degenerative joint disease treatment down the road:
- Seek information. Learn about osteoarthritis and keep up with new information about early symptoms and self-care.
- Stay active. Regular physical activity that includes stretching, strengthening and aerobic conditioning can play a key role in overall health and wellness. Specifically, strong core muscles can help support and protect spinal joints affected by osteoarthritis.
- Maintain a healthy body weight. Losing excess weight — and keeping it off — will reduce stress on the spine, as well as lessen the likelihood of developing other health problems.
- Get enough rest. Getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis can help minimize the perception of pain and help the body cope with the effects of osteoarthritis.
- Live well and stay positive. Participating in enjoyable activities such as hobbies, sports and volunteer work can distract the mind from focusing on pain and also lead to an improved outlook and genuine happiness.
USA Spine Care
Many patients diagnosed with degenerative joint disease are able to find relief with doctor-recommended conservative treatments like medication and physical therapy combined with healthy lifestyle choices like the ones above. Your doctor may refer you to a spine surgeon for a consultation if it has been decided that conservative treatments have been fully explored.
If you are ever recommended for spine surgery, reach out to the dedicated team at USA Spine Care before consenting to a highly invasive traditional open neck or back procedure. Our minimally invasive spine surgery offers patients less risk of complication and a shorter recovery period compared to traditional open spine surgery.
To learn more, contact us today for a no-cost MRI review* to help determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures.