Cartilage is a type of flexible, connective tissue found throughout the human body. Although the function of cartilage varies, its primary purpose in our joints is to provide fluid motion and some shock absorption. The types of cartilage that perform these specific functions are usually found coating the ends of bones and in joint spaces. Let’s look at the top reasons for losing cartilage.
Top Reasons for Losing Cartilage
Unfortunately, cartilage can break down. Sudden injuries and the effects of aging are both capable of damaging cartilage, which can cause joint pain, swelling, and joint locking. The good news is that minor cartilage damage is often reversible. It will heal on its own within a few weeks as long as you give the joint the opportunity to heal. On the other hand, serious cartilage damage as a result of a more severe injury or aging can be permanent.
The Causes of Cartilage Damage
Other than old age, there are a handful of injury types that are more common to cause cartilage loss. These include:
- Forceful impacts, such as that associated with a hard fall.
- Repetitive damage to the joint, such as that caused by running or jumping without the correct form or footwear.
- Twisting injuries, usually in the knee when the rotation is over-extended while the foot stays in the original position. You might see this type of injury in a soccer player or someone else who makes a lot of directional changes while running.
- Poor joint alignment as a result of an existing injury or condition, which may put excessive pressure or strain on the cartilage.
It is more common to see injuries of this type in the joints of our appendages. Still, it is possible to sustain cartilage injuries to the spine. It is also possible to experience cartilage loss in the spine as a result of wear and tear or aging. If you’re experiencing the sensations of cartilage loss in your spine, including grinding, locking, pain, or swelling, you need to speak to your spine surgeon in Beverly Hills.
Treating Cartilage Loss in the Spine
Losing cartilage in your spine can be incredibly painful, depending on the severity of the loss. Cartilage essentially acts as a cushion between each individual vertebrae. So that they aren’t directly stacked on top of one another.
As that barrier breaks down, the vertebrae start to interact with each other. This can result in a “pinched nerve” and general osteoarthritis. Even though cartilage loss is not reversible, there are steps your spinal surgeon can take to protect your spine and relieve your symptoms.
When you first begin your osteoarthritis treatment in Los Angeles, you may experience some frustration. Your spine is incredibly important to your body and daily function. So your spinal surgeon will likely take a more conservative approach to ensure you receive the best treatment with the lowest level of risk.
Pain medication can be used to manage your symptoms, but comprehensive treatment for your osteoarthritis will likely include injection therapy, physical therapy, and some lifestyle changes. None of these treatments work overnight, but they do offer the best chance of success with minimal risks.
Considering Surgical Options
Maybe you still do not see enough progress despite following the treatment plan. Then your spinal surgeon may consider surgical options after six months. There are always risks associated with surgery. So your surgeon will discuss potential risks as well as post-operative steps with you prior to moving forward. The procedural steps involved vary widely depending on the type of spinal surgery you need for your individual case. But all of them can prove life-changing as long as you stay willing to trust the process.