Degenerative Joint Disease
Also known as facet disease or spinal osteoarthritis, degenerative joint disease of the spine is a condition that can develop when the cushioning cartilage in the facet joints of the spine wears away. The facet joints allow the spine to move freely. It endures a great deal of daily wear and tear. Which can cause the cartilage in the joints to deteriorate slowly. When this occurs, the ones in the joint can grind against one another. This can lead to pain, inflammation, joint stiffness, and the potential to develop bone spurs. If a bone spur forms and puts pressure on a nerve root, pain, numbness, and tingling can radiate along the nerve pathway to other areas of the body. Degenerative joint disease is most prevalent in the cervical spine (neck area) and lumbar spine (lower back area), as these areas are subjected to more frequent bending and twisting.
One of the options for treating degenerative joint disease in the neck that your doctor may recommend is nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which can help reduce inflammation and potentially slow joint damage. NSAIDs are a popular treatment choice because they are non-narcotic and therefore, nonsedating.
Here are a few types of NSAIDs to consider:
- Aspirin (Bayer, Bufferin, Alka Seltzer)
- Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin, Midol)
- Naproxen (Alvene)
- Diclofenac (Voltaren, Zorvolex – prescription required)
Additionally, other conservative treatment options include physical therapy, hot and cold compress, and corticosteroid injections. You might also consider lifestyle adjustments that could reduce the strain on the affected area of your spine. Such as eliminating tobacco use, using better posture, and avoiding high-impact athletic activities.
Degenerative Joint Disease Treatment at BEST Health System
Though many patients are able to find the relief they are looking for through the treatment options detailed above, some of the more severe cases of cervical degenerative joint disease may require surgery. BEST Health System offers minimally invasive spine surgery. This procedure utilizes a less than 1-inch incision. It is also a safer and more effective alternative to open neck and back surgery.
Contact BEST Health System today if you would like additional information about our outpatient treatment options. We would be happy to help and determine if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery.