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Am I a candidate for degenerative joint disease surgery?

Finding out if you are a candidate for spinal degenerative joint disease surgery comes down to consulting with your physician to determine if surgery might be a useful treatment option in your specific case. However, it can be helpful to understand the circumstances that usually lead to a physician suggesting surgery. Here, we’ll review some of the questions that you and your doctor might go over when deciding if you should think about surgery.

How severe are your symptoms?

Spinal degenerative joint disease symptoms range widely in both their effects and their severity. Often, people who have mild to moderate pain or other related symptoms find that their issues don’t stop them from working or performing other everyday tasks — they’re more of an annoyance than anything. People with more severe symptoms or even moderate symptoms that have gone uncontrolled for long stretches of time might find that their condition is negatively impacting their lives, making them more likely to be considered candidates for surgery.

Have you tried other treatment measures?

You’d be hard pressed to find a physician who will recommend surgery as your first treatment option. This is because many people can achieve significant relief from their symptoms through nonsurgical means, which can include:

  • Making lifestyle changes, such as losing weight if necessary to reduce the stress placed on the spine
  • Keeping active through aerobic exercises, strengthening exercises and physical therapy exercises
  • Taking medications to control pain and/or inflammation
  • Applying heat and/or ice to the site of the discomfort
  • Avoiding activities that can worsen the condition, such as high-impact sports or repetitive motions that place strain on the spine
  • Considering complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, in addition to more conventional treatment options

For many people with spinal degenerative joint disease, one or more of these therapies is enough to provide them with ongoing relief from their symptoms so they can continue with their day-to-day lives.

Do the pros outweigh the cons for you?

If you’ve tried weeks or months of conservative treatment measures, spinal degenerative joint disease surgerymay become an option. It’s important to keep in mind that there are contraindications to spine surgery — conditions that will deter a surgeon from performing a procedure. Those criteria vary depending on the type of surgery planned, but can include smoking, being morbidly obese or having other severe health conditions that could impact surgery and recovery.

USA Spine Care offers outpatient spine surgery for degenerative joint disease. Our minimally invasive spine surgery is often the clinically appropriate first choice and provides many advantages versus open neck or back surgery.^ Contact us today to find out if you’re a candidate for our procedures.

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