What you should know about degenerative joint disease

If you’ve been diagnosed with degenerative joint disease of the spine, you likely have a lot of questions about what this means and how it will affect your life. This condition, also known as facet disease or spinal arthritis, describes the gradual deterioration of the joints that make up the spine. It occurs naturally as part of the aging process and is therefore more common in people over the age of 50.

Symptoms and treatment options

Degenerative joint disease of the spine can cause a variety of symptoms. These include:

  • A dull, throbbing pain at the location of the affected joints
  • General stiffness or joint lockage that limits mobility and range of motion
  • Crepitus, a feeling of bone rubbing against bone that can cause a popping sound
  • Tingling, numbness or muscle weakness if a nerve root is compressed

When any of these symptoms occur, it’s important to consult a physician for a diagnosis. Because the spine is a complex structure with many moving parts, there are a number of conditions that can cause symptoms similar to those produced by degenerative joint disease. After diagnosing the cause of your neck or back pain, your physician will start by recommending conservative treatments, such as:

  • Anti-inflammatory pain medications
  • Physical therapy, low-impact exercises or stretching techniques
  • Behavioral modifications, including quitting smoking and improving posture

Treatment at Laser Spine Institute

Although there is no cure for degenerative joint disease, conservative treatments are often effective at addressing the symptoms. For some individuals, however, the symptoms are more severe and do not respond to these treatments. In these cases, a physician will likely recommend surgery as the next step.

The surgeons at Laser Spine Institute are highly experienced in performing minimally invasive spinal procedures to help patients find relief from their neck and back pain. If you’d like to find out if one of our outpatient procedures is the right option for you, contact Laser Spine Institute today.

Our dedicated team of Spine Care Consultants can help you get a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you may be a candidate for one of our procedures.