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Degenerative Arthritis

Degenerative Arthritis

The human body, like even the most fine-tuned automobile, cannot avoid the effects of aging. Wear-and-tear causes parts to break down over time. But like a classic car, there are ways to keep the parts of the body that have worn out running smoothly—well into the “golden years.”

Degenerative arthritis occurs when the protective linings of our joints break down. There are two forms of degenerative arthritis:

Rheumatoid arthritis develops when the body’s own immune system attacks the tissues of the joints, causing painful swelling that leads to bone erosion and joint deformity. Rheumatologists are medical specialists in treating this kind of arthritis, which can also damage other parts of the body as well.

Osteoarthritis is the result of simple wear and tear on the joints from sustained use. It is the most common form of arthritis and most often seen in people over the age of 60. Sometimes, however, younger patients, especially athletes, may suffer from osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis can affect the major joints, such as the knees, hips and shoulders. But it can also impact the joints of the spine. When this occurs, the spinal column may narrow, a condition known as spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis puts pressure on spinal nerves which can make walking or standing erect difficult and cause significant pain or weakness in the legs as well.

Risk Factors for Developing Degenerative Arthritis

Although age is a major cause of osteoarthritis, there are other factors that may increase the risk of developing the disease, including:

Non-Surgical Treatment Options 

Many patients who suffer from the pain, stiffness and swelling of osteoarthritis often believe that major surgery is their only option. But advances in minimally invasive interventions are giving new hope to patients with osteoarthritis, so much so that only the most advanced cases of the disease may require surgical treatment.

Non-surgical options include:

All of these procedures are performed on an out-patient basis under local anesthetic and without the need for lengthy rehab. Many patients are able to resume their normal activities within a day or two of their treatment.

Dr. Skaribas was one of the first physicians in the United States to perform Vertiflex. Having performed more Vertiflex procedures than anyone else in the Houston area, he now instructs other physicians on how to perform the treatment.

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