Degenerative joint disease treatment is generally intended to alleviate the patient’s symptoms and increase the patient’s mobility as much as possible. In some cases, the condition may be surgically treated. However, no treatment to cure degenerative joint disease itself exists. Instead, when a patient is diagnosed with degenerative joint disease, the goal of treatment is to non-surgically curb the patient’s symptoms. Spinal surgery should only be considered as a last resort after all other conservative options have proven unsuccessful.
Degenerative joint disease is most often caused by nothing more than the normal aging process, although factors like injury, obesity, years of smoking and prolonged repetitive activities can all exacerbate the onset of the condition. The vertebral joints in the spine are cartilage-lined structures that stabilize the spine and allow the vertebrae to smoothly articulate without grating against one another. Degenerative joint disease, also known as osteoarthritis, occurs as the cartilage begins to wear away and bone-on-bone contact is the result.
Generally speaking, if a patient is experiencing symptoms that can be associated with degenerative joint disease, treatment is normally first attempted with a series of non-invasive treatments. Some of the most commonly recommended techniques include:
- Pain medication , muscle relaxants and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Behavior modification
- Physical therapy
- Low-impact exercises and stretching programs
- Deep tissue massage
- Healthy diet
- Alternative treatments such as yoga, acupuncture and herbal supplements
In the event that the patient does not experience adequate pain relief from these treatments, spine surgery may be recommended to remove the arthritic joint from the spine. If you are considering undergoing an open spine surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how one of our state-of-the-art, minimally invasive procedures may help you find relief from neck and back pain without the need for traditional open spine surgery.