When To Consider Surgery For Degenerative Spine Conditions
If youve been dealing with neck pain, back pain and other symptoms related to a degenerative spine condition and conservative treatment options havent helped, reach out to USA Spine Care. Our board-certified surgeons+ perform minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery that has helped more than 70,000 patients find relief from neck and back pain since 2005.
Contact us today for a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.
How Do I Know If I Have Osteoarthritis
Unlike other types of arthritis, the pain from osteoarthritis usually develops gradually over many months or years. Often it increases with activities that put stress on the joint, such as running or prolonged walking. Pain and joint swelling tend to increase slowly over time. Sometimes, especially in more advanced disease, a sensation of crunching or grinding may be noticed in affected joints. Prolonged morning stiffness is not a prominent symptom in OA as compared to inflammatory arthritides, such as rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis. Osteoarthritis does not usually cause fevers, weight loss, or very hot and red joints. These features suggest some other condition or type of arthritis.
Your healthcare provider can typically diagnose osteoarthritis by obtaining a complete history of your symptoms and examining your joints. X-rays may be helpful to make sure there is no other reason for the pain. Magnetic resonance imaging is generally not needed except in unusual circumstances or in cases when the cartilage or surrounding ligament tear is suspected. There are no blood tests that diagnose osteoarthritis. If a joint is particularly swollen, a doctor may need to drain fluid from that joint. Tests can be performed on the fluid to look for clues for other types of arthritis, such as gout.
What Are The Risk Factors For Osteoarthritis
In addition to age and secondary causes such as inflammatory arthritis and prior injury/ trauma, several other risk factors increase the chance of developing osteoarthritis including obesity, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, sex, and genetics.
- Obesity is a risk factor for osteoarthritis, particularly of the knee. In addition to overloading the weight-bearing mechanisms of the body, the metabolic and pro-inflammatory effects of obesity have been studied as contributory to osteoarthritis. Maintaining ideal body weight or losing extra weight is important for those at risk.
- Both diabetes and hyperlipidemia contribute to the inflammatory response within the body, increasing the risk of osteoarthritis. Oxidation of lipids can also create deposits in cartilage which affects affecting blood flow of subchondral bone in the same way that blood vessels are affected by atherosclerosis. Elevated blood sugars, as well as elevated cholesterol/lipids, increase free radicals within the body, this oxidative stress exceeds the resilience of cartilage on the cellular level. Controlling diabetes and hyperlipidemia is important for bone health in addition to general health.
- Heredity can play a role in osteoarthritis, as individuals born with other bone diseases or genetic traits may be more likely to develop osteoarthritis. For example, Ehlers-Danlos, which is characterized by joint laxity or hypermobility, can contribute to osteoarthritis.
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Natural Degenerative Joint Disease Treatments That Work
Unless youre a hermit or ardent loner, you probably know somebody or several somebodies dealing with degenerative joint disease . Also known as osteoarthritis, an estimated 27 million Americans over the age of 25 have DJD, which is about 14 percent of the total population in this age group.
Even worse, about 34 percent of those 65-plus have DJD. And because it develops in older people more frequently, we can expect to see these numbers rise even higher as the percentage of Americans over the age of 65 only continues to increase.
So what is degenerative joint disease, and can this common form of arthritis be naturally treated? Lets take a look at how diet and lifestyle can help manage DJD.
What Does Degenerative Arthritis Mean
Degenerative arthritis, also called osteoarthritis , is a debilitating condition in which gradual erosion of cartilage and bone tissue influences the range of motion of a joint due to progressive inflammation, pain, and rigidity. Many people experience varying degrees of degenerative arthritis that can affect different joints including feet, hands, hips, knees, neck, shoulder, and spine, where treatment modalities cover heat/ice application and injections or surgery.
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Osteoarthritis In Your Knees
Like hip OA, knee OA can occur in one or both knees. Age, genetics, and knee injury may all play a role in knee OA.
Athletes who concentrate solely on one sport that creates extensive, repetitive motion, such as running or tennis, may be at increased risk of OA. Likewise, if you pursue only one type of physical activity, this may overuse some muscles and underuse others, causing weakness and instability in the knee joint. Varying your activities helps to work different muscle groups, allowing all the muscles around your knee to be strengthened.
Other Pain Relief Treatments
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
A TENS machine sends electrical pulses to your nerve endings through pads placed on your skin. It produces a tingling sensation and is thought to relieve pain by altering pain signals sent to the brain. The research evidence on the effectiveness of TENS is mixed, but some people do find it helpful. A physiotherapist will be able to advise on the types of TENS machine available and how to use them. Or they may be able to loan you one to try before you buy.
Hyaluronic acid injections
Hyaluronic acid, or hyaluronan, is a lubricant and shock absorber thats found naturally in the fluid in your joints. Injections of hyaluronic acid have sometimes been used as a treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee. The treatment isnt currently available on the NHS because research evidence on its long-term effectiveness is mixed. The treatment is, however, available privately.
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How Is Osteoarthritis Diagnosed
The diagnosis of osteoarthritis is based on a combination of the following factors:
- Your description of symptoms
- Certain findings during a physical exam
If fluid has accumulated in the joints, your doctor may remove some fluid from the joint and examine it under a microscope to rule out other diseases.
Although there is no blood test to diagnose osteoarthritis, some blood tests may be helpful to rule out other types of arthritis.
What Medications Are Used To Treat Osteoarthritis
Pain-relieving drugs include acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen. Some medications in the form of creams, rubs, or sprays may be applied over the skin of affected areas to relieve pain. Medications may be prescribed to reduce pain caused by osteoarthritis. Some medications may be injected into the affected joint to relieve symptoms.
Unfortunately, drugs do not reverse or slow the progression of joint damage caused by osteoarthritis.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are two supplements that are commonly used for osteoarthritis. Research has not conclusively shown that these supplements are effective in reducing pain or improving function in patients with osteoarthritis.
When you are taking any medication or supplement, it is important to let your doctor know so they can assess for safety, drug interactions, and any side effects.
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Citation Doi And Article Data
- Degenerative joint disease of the hip
- DJD of the hip
- OA of the hip
- Osteoarthritis of the hip
Osteoarthritis of the hip can be graded according to its severity.
Different grading schemes are described for plain radiographs of the hip:
- grade 0: normal
- grade 1: possible joint space narrowing and subtle osteophytes
- grade 2: definite joint space narrowing, defined osteophytes and some sclerosis, especially in the acetabular region
- grade 3: marked joint space narrowing, small osteophytes, some sclerosis and cyst formation and deformity of femoral head and acetabulum
- grade 4: gross loss of joint space with above features plus large osteophytes and increased deformity of the femoral head and acetabulum
Tönnis classification for osteoarthritis of the hip
The original Tönnis classification consists of three degrees of degenerative changes featuring osteoarthritis of the hip. Grade 0 was added later 2,3.
- grade 0: no signs of osteoarthritis
- grade 1: minor joint space narrowing, subchondral sclerosis of the femoral head and/or acetabulum, small osteophytes
- grade 2: moderate joint space narrowing,small subchondral cysts of the femoral head and/or acetabulum, moderate loss of sphericity of the femoral head
- grade 3: severe joint space narrowing or obliteration, large subchondral cysts, severe deformity of the femoral head
Croft score for hip osteoarthritis
What Causes Pain In The L5 S1
Compression or inflammation of the L5 and/or S1 spinal nerve root may cause radiculopathy symptoms or sciatica, characterized by: Pain, generally felt as a sharp, shooting, and/or searing feeling in the buttock, thigh, leg, foot, and/or toes Numbness in the foot and/or toes Weakness in the leg and/or foot muscles and an inability to lift the foot off the floor
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When Is Surgery Indicated For Arthritis Of The Spine
The indications for surgery for arthritis of the spine are similar to those for a disc problem in the spine. If someone has pain that is easily controlled with rest and medication only every now and then, surgery is not indicated. If the pain and nerve symptoms occur frequently, are severe and limit your activity or are not controlled easily with rest and medication and are generally ruining your life, then surgery is a consideration. Rarely the spine with arthritis gets so bad that the bones and spurs begin to constrict the nerves and the spinal cord. This gradual squeezing of the spinal cord is called stenosis and can happen very slowly. In some cases, surgery is necessary to stop or slow down the process and is typically performed only when the symptoms get severe. The surgery for arthritis of the spine depends on exactly what is being pinched and where the arthritis is located. Sometimes the surgery is just to remove the spurs that are compressing the nerves, and sometimes the vertebrae are fused together to prevent the irritation that occurs when the two bones rub against each other when the spine moves. The results of surgery and prognosis after surgery should be discussed with your physician.
Who Is Affected By Osteoarthritis
Approximately 80% of older adults, ages 55 years and older, have evidence of osteoarthritis on X-ray. Of these, an estimated 60% experience symptoms. It is estimated that 240 million adults worldwide have symptomatic osteoarthritis, including more than 30 million U.S. adults. Post-menopausal women have an increased incidence of knee osteoarthritis compared to men.
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Key Takeaways For Degenerative Joint Disease:
- Degenerative joint disease, also called osteoarthritis, is the leading type of arthritis in adults.
- DJD results in decreased cartilage and joint tissue, which leads to joint pain, inflammation and trouble moving.
- Its caused by a combination of factors: genetics, high inflammation, poor diet, inactivity, repetitive motions and getting older .
- You can help prevent and treat degenerative joint disease naturally by eating a nutrient-dense diet, staying active, reducing stress, and relieving pain with alternative treatments like acupuncture, massage therapy and heat/cold applications.
Points To Remember About Osteoarthritis
- Osteoarthritis is a joint disease in which the tissues in the joint break down over time. It is the most common type of arthritis and is more common in older people.
- Common symptoms of osteoarthritis include joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, as well as changes in how the joint moves and feeling like the joint is loose or unstable.
- Treatment of osteoarthritis usually includes exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, wearing braces to help with stability, and taking medications, if prescribed.
- You can do many things to help you live with osteoarthritis, including using hot and cold therapies, avoiding repeated movements, and taking a class to help you learn about the condition.
What Are The Symptoms Of Degenerative Changes In The Spine
Degenerative changes in the spine occur in all people as they age. However, there are a wide range of symptoms that can develop. Age-related degenerative changes in the spine typically begin with loss of water, both to the rubbery discs located between the spinal vertebrae and to the facet joints that link them together.
By having a better understanding of the causes and treatment options of these symptoms you can be a more informed patient who is more engaged with the care you receive. In addition to working with your doctor to develop a treatment plan, you can also contact the caring and dedicated team at USA Spine Care to learn more about your condition and the treatment options we offer.
How Is Oa Treated
There is no cure for OA, so doctors usually treat OA symptoms with a combination of therapies, which may include the following:
- Increasing physical activity
- Medications, including over-the-counter pain relievers and prescription drugs
- Supportive devices such as crutches or canes
In addition to these treatments, people can gain confidence in managing their OA with self-management strategies. These strategies help reduce pain and disability so people with osteoarthritis can pursue the activities that are important to them. These five simple and effective arthritis management strategies can help.
Physical Activity for Arthritis
Some people are concerned that physical activity will make their arthritis worse, but joint-friendly physical activity can actually improve arthritis pain, function, and quality of life.
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Arthritis Of The Foot And Ankle
Arthritis is inflammation resulting from the degeneration of cartilage in the joint causing pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints resulting in restricted movements.Arthritis of the foot and ankle joint can occur due to fracture, dislocation, inflammatory disease, or congenital deformity. The foot joints most commonly affected by arthritis are:
- The joint between the shin bone and ankle bone
- The three joints of the foot that include the heel bone, the inner mid-foot bone, and the outer mid-foot bone
- The joint of the great toe and foot bone
Spinal Arthritis May Contribute To Other Issues In The Spine
Spinal arthritis may cause bone spurs â overgrowths on the edges of the bones. In the spine, bone spurs particularly affect facet joints, making them grow larger. This condition is called facet joint hypertrophy. Although bone spurs on their own are not harmful, they may narrow the passages for the spinal cord and the nerves exiting the spine. This may lead to two painful conditions:
Spinal stenosisâ compression of the spinal cord inside the spinal canal
Radiculopathyâ pinching of the peripheral nerves as they exit the spine
Ankylosing spondylitis may also cause additional problems such as:
Stress fractures in places where new bone has formed
A spinal deformity called kyphosis
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Risk Factors For Degenerative Joint Disease
What are the underlying causes of osteoarthritis? It isnt fully agreed upon or known at this time, but the disease seems to be caused by a combination of different factors that raise someones risk, including:
- older age
- being a woman
- being overweight or obese
- experiencing any injuries to the joints that lead to malformation
- having a job or regular hobby that puts a lot of stress on the joints or involves repetitive motions
- having certain genetic defects that affect the development of joint cartilage and collagen
- having DJD/osteoarthritis run in your family
Wondering what makes osteoarthritis different than rheumatoid arthritis ? RA is the second most common form of arthritis after osteoarthritis/degenerative joint disease. RA is considered to be an autoimmune disease because it results from the immune system attacking the bodys own healthy tissues that makes up the joints. Osteoarthritis is caused by mechanical wear and tear on joints and is not classified as an autoimmune disease.
Both DJD and RA lead to pain, swelling, joint inflammation, and eventually joint damage or malformation. Compared to RA, DJD usually starts later in life. Rheumatoid arthritis can begin early in life or during middle age and also usually causes other symptoms beyond just loss of joint/cartilage tissue, including: fatigue, lower immunity, and sometimes fever, changes to skin tissue, the lungs, the eyes or the blood vessels.
What If Ive Already Been Diagnosed
First, after a diagnosis of a degenerative knee joint, you should start thinking about your lifestyle. Listen to your physicians advice, and educate yourself on pain management. Likewise, its worth taking a look at the possible medication you might be taking. Those who suffer from a degenerative knee often live long and healthy lives, so dont be afraid.
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On the other hand, you can also think about getting a knee replacement. Replaced joints usually have a limited shelf life, so take into consideration your age and health.
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What Are The Causes And Types Of Arthritis
The most common types include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. Determining the cause of arthritis can be difficult since multiple, overlapping factors typically contribute to its development. Possible causes of arthritis include age- and lifestyle-related wear and tear, infections, injuries, and autoimmune conditions.
Your Patient Has Degenerative Arthritis Of The Tmj: What Now
You might want to pick up a couple of basics before beginning this short article if this is foreign territory for you. My earlier article, TMJ Pain: Whose Fault Is It? would be a reasonable place to start. Knowing even a simplified version of the anatomy will help you picture what occurs when the disc is gone.
When the articular disc is displaced long enough, it will eventually perforate or more likely fragment. When this occurs, the mandibular condyle will contact the inferior surface of the glenoid fossa. In simpler terms, the top of the lower jawbonethe mandibular condylewill touch the temporal bone. Put those two bones in contact long enough and they will appear to be wearing away.
Does that condition also change the patients occlusion? Definitely!
The T-scan image above shows that with disc out of place or completely absent on the left side, most of the biting force shifted to the posterior teeth on the left. In more basic terms, with the natural shock absorber missing, those left side upper and lower back teeth are banging away on each other.
When you suspect TMJ pathology, I recommend CT scan of the joint or MRI or both.
If the disc is fragmented or missing, the MRI report from your friendly radiologist will say something like Articular disc not discernible.
In most cases, your patient with degenerative arthritis of the TMJ can be helped with a properly designed oral appliance, or appliances.
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