What exercises are effective for degenerative joint disease?

The pain and discomfort of degenerative joint disease, also known as osteoarthritis, can sometimes be combatted with low-impact exercises that strengthen the spine and surrounding muscles. Before beginning any exercise regimen, it is essential that you meet with your doctor or another medical professional to ensure that every exercise is appropriate for your condition and health history. Exercising improperly or excessively can worsen symptoms as well as the underlying condition. To learn about the causes of this degenerative condition, along with the options available for relief, read on.

Causes of degenerative joint disease

Degenerative joint disease commonly occurs in the neck or back of people who age 50 and older. A facet joint in the spine becomes arthritic when the cartilage on the joint wears over time, no longer protecting the joint surfaces from grinding against each other. Throughout years of constant movement, bone-on-bone contact results in inflammation and leads to the growth of bone spurs, causing joint dysfunction and nerve compression in the spinal column. While exercise does not eliminate the condition, this form of treatment can help ease the arthritic pain and increase or maintain the mobility of the joint.

Degenerative joint disease exercises

Some effective degenerative joint disease exercises typically recommended to accomplish these important goals include:

  • Range-of-motion exercises
  • Physical therapy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Aerobic exercises
  • Specific stretching exercises

Take a moment to review some common exercises that help relieve joint pain in the spine:

  • Low-impact exercises, such as swimming, biking and walking
  • Stretches that lengthen your spine, such as lying on your back and bringing your knees to your chest
  • Core stability strength, such as crunches and abdominal exercises on a stability ball

If you feel any pain during these degenerative joint disease exercises, you should stop immediately and rest. If the pain continues, consult your doctor about alternative treatment options. Some patients may be recommended for spine surgery to treat degenerative joint disease. For information about a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery,^ contact Laser Spine Institute and ask about our minimally invasive decompression and stabilization surgery.

At Laser Spine Institute, our board-certified+ surgeons use a small incision that is muscle sparing to treat degenerative joint disease, thereby reducing the risk of complication and shortening the recovery period compared to traditional open spine surgery.^ If you are interested in finding out if you are a potential candidate for our outpatient surgery, reach out to our dedicated team today and ask for a free MRI review.*