Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD), Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD), Osteoarthritis, and Spondylosis are all fancy, scary sounding terms for essentially the same thing. They all mean wear and tear in the joints. Time, pressure from gravity, injuries, and general use of the joints eventually lead to wear and tear, just like parts in a car.
In actuality, it is neither a “disease” nor an “arthritis”, but a normal change that occurs in our joints as well as the discs of our spine. There are, of course, risk factors that can accelerate the rate of degeneration within the joints.
Body Weight: Your body was designed to hold a certain amount of weight. As obesity explodes in the U.S., we see not only an increase in heart disease and diabetes, but also an increase in osteoarthritis.
Trauma/Injury: Whiplash from a car accident, falling out of a tree as a kid, or a sports injury are a few examples of trauma that can cause damage to the joints of the spine. The weakening of the joints will lead to advanced degeneration over time. My father was injured in a rear end auto collision in the early 1980’s. The degenerative damage from that injury that occurred over the next 15 years eventually required a fusion surgery in his neck.
Surgery: Although fusion of joints in the spine is sometimes necessary, as in my father’s case, it can lead to advanced degeneration in the joints around them. That is his current problem.
Smoking, repetitive work (like being at a computer all day), and heredity are all further risk factors.
We can’t live our lives in a protective bubble, so it’s important that we manage our body and our health. However, if you stay fit and exercise smart, you will slow the wear on your joints. It’s important to strengthen those muscles in the core of your body that protect and support your spine. I can help start you on that path.
For more information about these conditions and how we can help, schedule an appointment with us today.