Spinal degenerative joint disease, also called osteoarthritis of the spine, is a relatively common condition with symptoms ranging in severity from minor to debilitating. Patients are often slow to seek medical attention because symptoms develop gradually over the years. However, ignoring initial signs of degenerative joint disease can have a negative effect on your long-term spine health. In some rare cases, not getting required treatment can lead to severe complications down the line, making it very important to seek professional medical attention for any pain that persists for more than a few days to a week.
Stiffness and pain are typical degenerative joint disease symptoms
One of the most common symptoms of osteoarthritis is the feeling of stiffness or achiness in the joints. When it occurs in the spine, deterioration of the joints can make it tough to bend over, especially early in the morning. The effects of degenerative joint disease tend to reduce in severity as the day goes on and the joint becomes better lubricated by the fluid surrounding it. Because the pain starts off as temporary, it can be all too easy to write it off as a side effect of aging or sleeping poorly, but it shouldn’t be ignored. That’s because the sooner spinal osteoarthritis treatment begins, the greater the chance there is of preventing further damage to the joints. Some severe cases of spinal osteoarthritis can lead to joint deformities that cause further complications and prompt treatment can reduce the chances of this occurring.
Getting treatment for degenerative joint disease
Although no particular treatment is able to stop the progression of osteoarthritis, doctors often recommend making lifestyle changes to reduce the strain placed on the spine, potentially slowing the degeneration of spinal components. This can include:
- Losing excess weight
- Getting regular, low-impact exercise
- Avoiding high-impact activities and repetitive motions
- Quitting smoking
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Improving posture
All of these changes can improve a patient’s overall quality of life while also contributing to a healthier spine. Patients with spinal degenerative joint disease also find that taking pain and anti-inflammatory medications, participating in physical therapy and other conservative treatment approaches can bring relief. A consultation for spine surgery can become an option if making recommended lifestyle changes and fully pursuing conservative treatment does not improve symptoms enough to engage in everyday activities without discomfort.
If you have been recommended for surgery to treat degenerative joint disease but have concerns about the risks and difficulties associated with traditional open spine procedures, contact USA Spine Care today. Our minimally invasive spine surgery offers many advantages to our patients, including an outpatient procedure and no lengthy recovery.^
Our caring and dedicated team can help you receive a no-cost review of your MRI* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures.