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What to expect from a degenerative joint disease diagnosis

If you’ve been diagnosed with spinal degenerative joint disease, you might be concerned about what to expect. The symptoms related to this condition can range from mild to severe and you may also be experiencing more frequent stiffness or soreness, localized pain or pain that radiates along a nerve. Fatigue and headaches are also frequently experienced symptoms. For some, these symptoms get more severe as joint degeneration progresses but there are numerous options for managing the associated discomfort without surgery.

Expect to explore conservative treatment options

After being diagnosed with degenerative joint disease, the first step should be to discuss your conservative treatment options with your doctor. These options may include:

  • Medications, both prescription and over the counter, to address joint inflammation and pain
  • Physical therapy to improve range of motion and learn techniques to avoid movements that exacerbate the symptoms
  • Low-impact exercise to improve core muscle strength, which can compensate for degenerated spinal components
  • Lifestyle adjustments like losing excess weight or improving posture to reduce the load being placed on the spine

Finding the right treatment plan might require some trial and error. Many patients are able to obtain significant symptom relief through a combination of conservative therapies, but you’ll likely find that certain treatments are more effective for you than others are. You may find it helpful to keep a record of which treatments improve your symptoms and which do not, then report back to your doctor every few weeks.

When to consider surgery for degenerative joint disease

Conservative treatment options for degenerative joint disease are often effective but they don’t work for everyone. Often, patients are reluctant to undergo surgery due to the risks and difficulties associated with traditional open spine procedures.

If you’ve been diagnosed with degenerative joint disease and your symptoms are not responding to conservative treatments, USA Spine Care can help you explore your surgical options. Our minimally invasive spine surgery is performed on an outpatient basis using muscle-sparing techniques that offer our patients less risk of complication compared to traditional open neck or back procedures.

For a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures, reach out to our caring and dedicated team today.

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