Degenerative joint disease symptoms

Also known as osteoarthritis, degenerative joint disease and its symptoms can occur in any joint in the body, but are frequently found in the facet joints in the spine.

The facet joints in the spine are responsible for hinging together the vertebrae, allowing them to bend and move. Over the years, the cartilage that covers the facet joints can wear down, causing the vertebrae to rub against each other. This may cause the development of inflammation in the joints as well as bone spurs and other degenerative spine conditions.

While degenerative joint disease does not always produce symptoms, sometimes the inflammation in the joint or the bone spur can press against a nerve in the spine and result in pain and discomfort.

Common symptoms of degenerative joint disease

Degenerative joint disease, when compressing a nerve, can cause pain and symptoms to develop not only in the area of the damaged joint, but also along the nerve pathway. These common symptoms include:

  • A feeling of stiffness or soreness
  • Fatigue
  • Localized pain at the site of the arthritic joint
  • Pain that radiates along a nerve
  • Headaches

The area of the damaged joint will dictate where the pain and symptoms travel in the body. For example, a degenerative joint in the lumbar spine can cause discomfort to travel from the lower back down to the buttocks and legs. Likewise, a pinched nerve in the cervical spine can cause pain to radiate from the neck into the shoulders, arms and hands.

Treatment for degenerative joint disease

Initial treatment of degenerative joint disease is often conservative, meaning the treatment plan may include pain medications or anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, massage and diet modification. These nonsurgical treatments are designed to reduce the symptoms while the body works to naturally heal the damaged joint in the spine.

Conservative treatments often take several months before lasting relief can be felt. If you have been enduring these treatments for several months and you are still suffering from pain and symptoms, you should contact the spine care specialists at Laser Spine Institute.

We offer minimally invasive spine surgery to help you find relief from chronic neck and back pain. To date, we’ve helped more than 60,000 patients regain their active lifestyle through our minimally invasive spine surgery. Our patients can experience a safer, more effective treatment with a shorter recovery time^ than traditional open back surgery.

To see if you are a candidate for one of our procedures, contact Laser Spine Institute today and request a review of your MRI or CT scan.