Mississauga Chiropractor Presents: Cervical DJD

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Categories: Lecture Series

Here’s another blog from a Mississauga Chiropractor…

Cervical Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) is the progressive loss of cartilage causing joint space narrowing, subchondral sclerosis and osteophyte formation. This most commonly occurs at C5-C6 & C6-C7.



Potential Causes:

  • Primary: Abnormal biomechanics, genetic predisposition, metabolic causes,occupational
  • Secondary: Childhood anatomic abnormalities, joint trauma or fracture, repetitive action or joint motion


  • Slowly developing dull achy neck pain
  • Chronic recurrent neck pain
  • Morning stiffness & pain
  • Decreased neck range of motion

Note: There is an extremely poor correlation between the degree of radiographic evidence of degeneration & the clinical presentation of the patient’s pain. Many patients will have moderate degenerative changes visible on x-ray but experience no pain.

Common X-ray Findings for DJD of the Cervical Spine:

  • Signs are worst at C3-C4 levels
  • Decreased disc height & osteophyte formation
  • Relative sclerosis
  • Loss of cervical curve


  • Rest in a position that minimizes symptoms. Ice in acute cases
  • Heat – most patients respond extremely well to heat. Hot packs in the office or hot baths/hot-tubs
  • Joint mobilizations or adjustments to the cervical spine. This will improve joint mobility and relieve some pain.
  • Traction of the neck will unload the joints of the cervical spine
  • Active Release Technique; relaxation massages,trigger point therapy
  • Electrotherapy modalities: IFC (interferential current), TENS,microcurrent, ultrasound
  • Range of motion exercises
  • Postural retraining & sleeping position evaluations


  • Fair to good for some symptomatic relief
  • There is no cure, but the primary focus of the treatment is to manage the symptoms and improve biomechanics


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