Information about chondroitin


Chondroitin is a naturally occurring amino sugar in the body that plays a large role in the elasticity of joint cartilage. The degeneration of chondroitin is believed to be the cause of the development of osteoarthritis. Chondroitin is often sold as a supplement in conjunction with glucosamine, another amino sugar found in joint cartilage.

Although these substances have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of osteoarthritis, some studies have found that these non-vitamin, non-mineral dietary supplements have improved damaged connective tissue in some individuals.

Before trying any treatments for your osteoarthritis, you should consult your physician. You can collaborate with your physician about holistic methods of treatment for your arthritis and related conditions.

Chondroitin and spinal osteoarthritis

Spinal osteoarthritis is the gradual breakdown of cartilage surrounding the facet joints of the spine. The facet joints are the joints that connect two vertebrae together. As the protective coatings of the facet joints break down, the body will often try to produce extra growths of bone to reinforce the joints, but these bone spurs (also called osteophytes) can impinge nerve roots and cause pain, tingling, numbness or weakness. Osteoarthritis also can lead to irritation of the local nerves that serve the joints, and this irritation can cause the joints to become stiff and achy. Degenerative spine conditions like this affect about 30 million people in the U.S., though women over the age of 50 are especially vulnerable.

If you decide to take chondroitin, glucosamine, or any combination of the two to treat arthritis of the spine, make sure you consult your physician first so that he or she can monitor you for side effects or negative interactions with other drugs that you may be taking. Both amino sugars are gleaned from fish, so if you have allergies to fish, you should avoid the supplements or find supplements that do not have fish-based ingredients.

Other treatment methods for spinal arthritis

Other conservative, non-operative treatments for degenerative spine conditions are available. Over-the-counter analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, cortisone injections or hot-cold therapy may prove effective. Making changes to your lifestyle can have a big impact as well. Staying active with low-impact exercises can be beneficial, but avoid strenuous sports that might cause or aggravate back pain, like jogging or weightlifting.

If you have tried conservative treatments for several months and still have not found lasting pain relief from your spine condition, you may be recommended to undergo spine surgery. At Laser Spine Institute, we offer minimally invasive surgery that is safer and more effective than traditional open back surgery. For more information about the procedures we offer and the benefits you can experience from our minimally invasive procedures, contact our Care Team at Laser Spine Institute today.