If you’ve been diagnosed with degenerative joint disease, surgery to treat your condition may be the first thing on your mind. However, surgery is typically reserved as a last resort, and there are numerous conservative treatments you can try first that can help you manage the symptoms associated with degenerative joint disease.
What conservative treatments are available for degenerative joint disease?
After confirming your diagnosis, your physician will likely discuss a treatment plan with you that includes a combination of several conservative treatments. Five of the most commonly recommended options include:
- Medications. Over-the-counter pain and anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce discomfort and swelling. For a stronger medication, your physician may recommend a prescription pain reliever or a corticosteroid injection.
- Hot/cold therapy. Hot compresses can help improve circulation and relax muscles, and cold compresses can help numb pain and reduce inflammation. Either option can be used on its own, or you may choose to alternate between the two.
- Exercise. Staying active is important for your overall health and can help reduce pain and other symptoms. Low-impact exercises, such as walking or water aerobics, are popular options. Additionally, learning targeted stretching techniques with a physical therapist can help you strengthen and stretch the muscles surrounding the spine.
- Lifestyle modifications. Losing excess weight, quitting smoking and improving posture can help promote a healthy spine. Additionally, avoiding activities that worsen your symptoms, such as lifting heavy objects or playing a contact sport, can help.
- Alternative therapies. Although the medical community has not reached a consensus about the effectiveness of alternative medicine, some patients choose to explore options such as chiropractic care, holistic yoga, therapeutic massage and acupuncture.
In many cases, patients are able to find a combination of conservative or alternative treatments that effectively manage their symptoms. However, for those with more severe symptoms that do not respond to conservative treatments after weeks or months, it may be time to consider degenerative joint disease surgery.
What are my options if I do need to consider surgery?
Your physician may recommend traditional open neck or back surgery to treat degenerative joint disease. However, you may be a candidate for minimally invasive surgery at USA Spine Care instead, which is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery.^ USA Spine Care is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery and has helped tens of thousands of patients find the relief they’ve been searching for from a variety of degenerative spine conditions.
For more information about receiving minimally invasive degenerative joint disease surgery at USA Spine Care, contact us today.
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