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Five water exercises for degenerative joint disease

Degenerative joint disease, also known as spinal osteoarthrosis or facet disease, is the ongoing deterioration of the cartilage that lines the facet joints — the joints that allow for movement in the spine. This cartilage tends to wear away as part of the natural aging process, as years of wear and tear take its toll on the spine just as with other parts of the body. Without the protective layer of cartilage, the bones of the facet joints grind against each other, resulting in pain, inflammation and stiffness. Bone spurs can develop as a result.

Water exercises for degenerative joint disease

One commonly utilized method of treating degenerative joint disease is water therapy, during which an individual performs specific exercises in a pool. While low-impact exercise helps to increase flexibility and relieve pain in the joints, performing these exercises can be painful for individuals with degenerative joint disease. However, when in a pool, the water helps to decrease the weight placed on these joints so that the exercises can be performed more comfortably. There are a number of exercises that can be done in water to help treat degenerative joint disease, including:

  1. Walking or jogging. Walking or jogging through water can be done alone and at each individual’s own pace.
  2. Water aerobics. Many fitness centers offer water aerobics classes — even some specifically designed for those with degenerative joint disease.
  3. Water yoga. Similar to aerobics, many traditional yoga exercises can be adapted for water. These exercises help to improve strength and flexibility within the spine.
  4. Swimming laps. Individuals can choose the stroke that feels most comfortable to them and can swim any number of laps at their own pace.
  5. Strengthening exercises. There are many other exercises that can be done in water. Individuals should check with their physician or physical therapist to determine which exercises can best treat their degenerative joint disease.

Other forms of degenerative joint disease treatment

In addition to water exercises, other common methods of treatment for degenerative joint disease include painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications, epidural steroid injections and physical therapy. For many patients, these nonsurgical treatments are sufficient in relieving their pain. However, a small percentage of patients with degenerative joint disease will need surgery to provide more meaningful relief. For these instances, the physicians at USA Spine Care offer minimally invasive outpatient surgery as an alternative to traditional highly invasive procedures. Our minimally invasive spine surgery offers many advantages, including a reduced risk of infection and other complications as compared to open spine surgery.^ To find out if you are a candidate for our procedures, contact USA Spine Care today.

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