Severe degenerative joint disease, or osteoarthritis, may accompany the natural aging process and may lead to significant neck or back pain. With aging, the spinal structures deteriorate, particularly in the mobile cervical and lumbar spine segments in the neck and lower back, respectively. One of the most common forms of spinal degeneration is the deterioration of the vertebral joints that normally stabilize the spinal column. These joints, known as facet joints, contain articular cartilage and possess a encapsulate filled with synovial fluid. Facet joints allow spinal flexibility. Severe degenerative joint disease occurs when the cartilage wears away, causing bone-on-bone contact.
The various treatment options
There is no cure for spinal arthritis. All conservative treatments of this condition are directed toward symptom suppression. Treatments for arthritis are focused on managing the patient’s pain and improving joint movement. Some of the most common treatments initially recommended to patients with spinal arthritis include:
- Over-the-counter or prescription pain medication or anti-inflammatory drugs
- Low-impact exercises to strengthen the muscles surrounding the joint
- Healthy diet
- Behavior modification
- Physical therapy to improve joint mobility
- Corticosteroid injections
Minimally invasive alternatives
In the event that your arthritic pain persists despite conservative treatment, surgery may be indicated. It is reasonable to determine the least invasive efficacious surgical treatment possible. Please investigate the minimally invasive procedures performed at Laser Spine Institute, offering efficacious procedures with shorter convalescent period and lower risk when compared with traditional open spine surgery of all types. Contact us today for a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan, and to receive more information.