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Four alternative degenerative joint disease treatment options

Degenerative joint disease in the spine may require treatment if symptoms develop as cartilage in the spinal joints gradually wears away. This type of degeneration, which often occurs as part of the natural aging process, can allow the bones within a joint to begin to grind together, leading to neck or back pain that typically worsens as the degeneration progresses. To help strengthen weakened bones, the body may produce smooth, bony deposits (bone spurs). The presence of this excess bony tissue can sometimes cause problems in the spinal canal, which houses the spinal cord and a series of spinal nerve roots within very tight quarters. For instance, if a bone spur creates pressure on highly sensitive nerve tissue, additional symptoms like radiating pain, numbness, tingling and muscle weakness may result.

If you’ve been diagnosed with degenerative joint disease and need treatment for symptoms like these, you are encouraged to talk with a physician. Many people find that they are able to manage their discomfort without surgery by using one or more conservative therapies. For instance, to ease your joint pain and improve your mobility, your physician might suggest that you try low-impact exercise, stretching, heat and ice applications, medications or lifestyle modifications, such as losing weight, quitting smoking or eating healthier.

Alternative treatment options for degenerative joint disease

In addition to traditional treatment approaches, some people find alternative therapies to be very helpful for easing the symptoms of degenerative joint disease in the spine (even though the effectiveness of these treatments is not scientifically proven). Some alternative options include:

  1. Chiropractic manipulation. Manual adjustments can help realign the spine and stimulate self-healing.
  2. Therapeutic massage. Manipulation of the body’s soft tissues can stimulate blood and lymph circulation and promote stress reduction.
  3. Tai chi. The practice of this ancient martial art, which coordinates a series of slow, gentle movements with deep breathing, can enhance relaxation.
  4. Acupuncture. A Chinese healing art, acupuncture involves the insertion of hair-thin needles into various points on the skin to help regulate the distribution of energy within the body.

Before trying any of these treatments, you should discuss the potential risks and benefits with your physician, who can provide personalized guidance to help you choose the best approach for your needs.

Surgery for degenerative joint disease

Whether you’ve tried traditional or alternative degenerative joint disease treatment, if your pain is severe and has not improved within a few weeks or months, you might want to explore surgery. Before consenting to a traditional open spine procedure, however, you should learn about all of your options, which may include the safer and effective alternatives^ performed by the surgeons at USA Spine Care.

To learn more and find out if you’re a candidate for one of our procedures, call today and request a no-cost MRI review.*

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