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Three alternatives to degenerative joint disease surgery

Degenerative joint disease is another term for osteoarthritis, which is age-related joint inflammation caused by breakdown of protective cartilage. Because of its role in holding up the upper body, the spine is especially vulnerable to developing this condition. In the spinal column, the individual vertebrae are connected by two pairs of facet joints, one on top and one on bottom. Over time, stress from weight and movement causes the protective cartilage of these joints to wear away, leading to degenerative joint disease due to increased bone-on-bone contact.

For many, degenerative joint disease surgery is not a serious option because this condition will often only result in minor aches and stiffness that require basic treatment. Degenerative joint disease can result in more severe symptoms if an inflamed joint, hardened ligament or bone spur growth causes a pinched nerve. But even in these cases, spine surgery will be viewed as a last-resort treatment option, with many effective nonsurgical alternatives existing for long-term pain relief.

Types of nonsurgical degenerative joint disease treatment

If you are dealing with debilitating symptoms and are considering degenerative joint disease surgery, here are three types of treatments you should discuss with your doctor:

  1. Physical therapy. Guided sessions with a physical therapist combined with regular at-home exercises can help improve spinal flexibility and strengthen the core muscles. This can improve range of motion and relieve pressure on the joints.
  2. Lifestyle changes. It is critical for patients dealing with this condition to do everything possible to promote a healthy spine. Ways to do this include eating a more nutritious diet, getting regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding tobacco products and excessive alcohol consumption.
  3. Alternative treatments. Before turning to surgery, a number of people will also attempt alternative therapies that are outside of the medical mainstream. Options that have been reported to bring relief for patients with degenerative spine conditions include acupuncture, herbal remedies and chiropractic care.

When exploring any new form of treatment, be sure to keep your primary doctor informed to make sure there is no conflict with your medical history or any other care you are receiving.

If degenerative joint disease surgery becomes an option

USA Spine Care is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery and we perform a range of degenerative joint disease procedures on an outpatient basis. Contact our caring and dedicated team today to learn more about the benefits of our procedures.

We’ll be glad to help you receive a free MRI review* that can determine if you are a potential candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery at one of our state-of-the-art regional centers.

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