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Avoid these three dangers of not treating degenerative joint disease in your spine

Degenerative joint disease is — as the name suggests — a degenerative condition in which the joints in the spine gradually wear down over time. In most situations, it’s the result of the natural aging process, although spinal degeneration can also be accelerated by sudden impacts, such as a car crash or a collision during a football game. While some people experience few (if any) symptoms, other people experience persistent pain and discomfort that interferes with their day-to-day lives.

The importance of treating spinal degeneration

Treating degenerative joint disease is important, especially when you consider that the condition can become more severe with time. The degeneration by itself is not always symptomatic, but if a herniated disc, bone spur or other complication develops and compresses one of the nerves or nerve roots in the spine, it can lead to more serious issues, such as:

  1. Difficulty working, attending school or handling day-to-day responsibilities
  2. Anxiety, depression and feelings of isolation
  3. The development of cauda equina syndrome, an urgent neurological condition that occurs when a degenerated disc compresses the cauda equina nerves, requiring immediate treatment

Spinal degeneration treatment options

For individuals with degenerative joint disease, there are many treatment options available. This ranges from over-the-counter medications and at-home exercises to physical therapy and prescription painkillers. Complementary and alternative therapies, such as yoga and herbal supplements, may also help lessen the effects of degeneration in the spine.

In many cases, people who have spinal joint degeneration do not require surgery. However, if the condition significantly interferes with a person’s lifestyle, surgery may become a consideration.

As far as surgery goes, there are traditional (open neck or back) operations and minimally invasive alternatives. USA Spine Care’s outpatient procedures are often the clinically appropriate first choice for treatment over traditional open spine surgery.^ If you’ve been diagnosed with degenerative joint disease and are evaluating your surgical options, contact USA Spine Care to find out if you’re a candidate.

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