Spinal degenerative joint disease symptoms and causes

Spinal degenerative joint disease is a form of osteoarthritis that affects the spine. The spinal column is a complex system that protects the spinal cord, provides structural support for the body and allows movement such as bending and twisting. As we age, the spine naturally begins to deteriorate from the many years of wear and tear it endures, and osteoarthritis is a common degenerative condition that affects the spine and other joints in the body.

Symptoms of spinal degenerative joint disease

Early on, this condition may not cause noticeable symptoms or may cause only minor aches and pains that go mostly unnoticed. As the condition progresses in the spine, you may experience:

  • A shooting pain that starts in the back and travels down an arm or leg
  • Feeling stiff or sore for no reason
  • Fatigue and headaches
  • Localized pain in the affected joints of the spine

If you notice any of these symptoms, you may want to consult a physician to get a diagnosis.

Causes of spinal degenerative joint disease

Degenerative joint disease is primarily caused by the natural aging process. However, certain factors can make the condition more likely or progress faster, including:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Overexertion
  • Gender (the condition is more common in women than in men)
  • Illness
  • Genetic predisposition

The spinal discs can also play a role in the development of degenerative joint disease in the neck and back. As we age, the discs that provide a layer of padding between the vertebrae begin to thin. Eventually, this can result in excessive pressure on the facet joints, which are the hinges formed by adjacent vertebrae that allow us to move. When the facet joints wear down, they can become inflamed, resulting in pain felt when moving in a way that engages these joints, such as twisting the torso or moving the head. These are the hallmark signs of degenerative joint disease.

Minimally invasive surgery at Laser Spine Institute

When pain and other symptoms caused by degenerative joint disease interfere with daily activities, several treatment options may be considered. Conservative treatments, such as anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy, are often the first step. However, when nonsurgical options are ineffective, a next step to consider is minimally invasive spine surgery.

The board certified surgeons+ at Laser Spine Institute have helped more than 60,000 patients find relief from their neck and back pain. Our minimally invasive procedures require less than a 1-inch incision with less risk of complications than traditional open spine surgery.

If you’re interested in receiving minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute to treat degenerative joint disease, contact us today. We can provide you with a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you’re a candidate.