An Overview of Degenerative Joint Disease
Degenerative joint disease of the spine can cause a range of symptoms in both the neck and back. Symptoms that can get in the way of your day-to-day life. While this age-related condition is not reversible, it is possible to find lasting relief and engage in normal activities. You can work with your doctor to develop a personalized treatment plan. An often overlooked but important part of treatment for degenerative joint disease is learning as much as possible about your condition and related symptoms you can. The following information is intended to help you work more closely with your doctor and give you a better chance of finding the relief you deserve if this condition is affecting you.
What is Degenerative Joint Disease
Degenerative joint disease of the spine is another term for osteoarthritis that develops in the joints of the spinal column. This condition can occur anywhere on the spine, although it most frequently occurs in the cervical (upper) and lumbar (lower) regions. Specifically, degenerative joint disease in the spine affects the vertebral facet joints. Which connect the vertebrae to give the spine stability and flexibility. These joints are lined with protective cartilage, which helps the vertebrae glide against one comfortably. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage wears away, leading to bone-to-bone friction.
The exact causes of osteoarthritis remain somewhat unclear. It is difficult to predict with 100 percent accuracy who will develop the condition and when symptoms will present. With that said, there are a number of risk factors that can make a person more susceptible to osteoarthritis, such as obesity and participation in high-impact sports.
The most common symptoms of degenerative joint disease in the neck and back include:
- Localized pain near an affected joint
- Stiffness in the neck and back
- The development of bone spurs
Degenerative joint disease of the spine can also result in the narrowing of the spinal nerve passages, resulting in nerve compression and symptoms that radiate to the upper and lower extremities. These symptoms include:
- Shooting pain
- Muscle weakness, cramping, and spasms
Treating Spinal Degenerative Joint Disease
Upon diagnosis, initial treatment for this condition typically involves a course of conservative treatments such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, hot and cold compression, and physical therapy. Spine surgery can be effective. However, it becomes an option only when conservative options have been exhausted.
If you need spine surgery, reach out to BEST Health System to learn more about the benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery. Our patient procedures offer less risk of complication and a shorter recovery time compared to traditional open neck or back surgery.
To learn more, contact us today. We can help get you on the path to relief today and help determine if you’re a potential candidate for one of our procedures.