Degenerative joint disease exercises

The discomfort and symptoms of degenerative joint disease 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 physician or another medical professional to ensure that every exercise is appropriate for your condition and health history.
Exercising improperly or excessively can actually worsen symptoms and exacerbate the underlying condition.

Causes of degenerative joint disease

Degenerative joint disease (DJD), also known as osteoarthritis, commonly occurs in the necks and backs of people who are older than 50 years old. A facet joint in the spine becomes arthritic when the cartilage on the joint wears away over time, no longer protecting the joint surfaces from grinding against each other. Throughout years of constant movement, the rubbing of bone against bone results in inflammation and leads to the growth of bone spurs, causing joint dysfunction and nerve compression in the spinal column.

While exercise for degenerative joint disease does not eliminate the condition, this form of treatment can help alleviate the arthritic pain and increase (or at least maintain) the mobility of the joint.

Effective exercises and other treatments

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

  • Range of motion exercises
  • Physical therapy sessions
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Walking
  • Aerobic exercises
  • Taking yoga or Pilates classes
  • Specific stretching exercises

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

  • Low-impact aerobics, such as swimming, cycling 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 exercises, you should stop immediately and rest. If the pain continues, consult your physician about alternative treatment options. Some patients may be recommended for spine surgery to treat degenerative joint disease. For information about a safer, more effective alternative to traditional open back surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute and ask about our minimally invasive decompression and stabilization surgery.