Degenerative Joint Disease Overview
Degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis) is a degenerative condition that can impact the cushioning cartilage that coats the facet joints, or the joints that link the bones of the spine and provide flexibility. As the body ages, this cartilage begins to wear away, causing bone-on-bone contact that can trigger pain, inflammation, stiffness, and other unpleasant symptoms.
What Causes Degenerative Joint Disease?
As you can imagine, degenerative joint disease can be a frustrating problem to live with. You may be curious to know what causes this problem and how you can avoid these behaviors. Unfortunately, degenerative joint disease is often simply a by-product of the body’s natural — and inevitable — aging process. Adults over the age of 50 will begin to experience some level of spinal degeneration as the years go by.
With all this said, there are certain habits that can accelerate the degenerative process and cause symptoms to develop sooner and with more intensity. These include:
- Being overweight
- Sustaining one or more traumatic injuries
- Playing contact sports or participating in high-impact exercise
- Having a genetic disposition to spinal conditions
- Smoking cigarettes
Likewise, healthy habits like engaging in regular low-impact exercise, quitting smoking, eating a balanced diet, and maintaining an ideal weight can help preserve your spinal health and keep you feeling your best longer.
Treatment with BEST Health System
Many patients are able to manage their degenerative joint disease symptoms through healthy lifestyle habits and a conservative treatment plan. However, surgical treatment may be appropriate for patients with more severe symptoms that do not respond to nonsurgical methods. BEST Health System performs minimally invasive outpatient procedures that are safer and more effective alternatives to traditional open spine operations. Contact BEST to learn more about our spine and orthopedic services.