How may we help you?

Home » Spine Conditions » Degenerative Joint Disease » What can I expect from degenerative joint disease treatment?

What can I expect from degenerative joint disease treatment?

Degenerative joint disease treatment can take many forms, most of which are nonsurgical. When this primarily age-related condition affects the spine, many people find conservative therapies to be helpful for alleviating their discomfort and improving their quality of life. For instance, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are readily available over the counter, can be very effective for reducing painful inflammation in the hard-working spinal facet joints. For many patients, a nonsurgical approach is a good starting point for finding relief.

Nonsurgical degenerative joint disease treatments

If you are diagnosed with degenerative joint disease, your physician will likely recommend a variety of conservative therapies for you to try. In addition to NSAIDs, some other options that may help you cope with your symptoms include:

  • Other pain-relieving medications
  • Low-impact exercises
  • Physical therapy
  • Hot and cold compresses
  • Therapeutic massage
  • Lifestyle changes, such as smoking cessation and weight loss, if applicable

While you may find one or more of these treatments to be very effective, keep in mind that conservative therapies can only address the symptoms caused by degenerative joint disease, and not their underlying cause. In other words, even though you may feel much better, the gradual deterioration of the cartilage that lines your spinal facet joints will likely continue.

For this reason, a treatment that initially works for you may lose effectiveness over time as your condition progresses. As cartilage wears away, it can eventually lead to painful bone-on-bone contact in a joint. In response, your body may produce bony deposits (osteophytes), which can help to protect and fortify the exposed bone surfaces. However, depending upon their location, osteophytes can potentially compress your spinal cord or a nearby nerve root, leading to further symptoms.

Degenerative joint disease surgery

If conservative treatment is initially ineffective for you or loses its effectiveness over time, surgery may become an option. There are several surgical techniques that can be used for degenerative joint disease treatment, including traditional open spine surgery and minimally invasive outpatient procedures. A surgeon can determine the best approach for you based on your specific diagnosis and other individual factors.

At USA Spine Care, our surgeons perform safer and effective alternatives to traditional open neck and back procedures, and our patients are typically up and walking within a few hours of surgery.^ If you’d like to find out if you’re a candidate, contact us today.

Browse Related Resources

TOP Call Now Button