Brooke Strickland and Andrew Cash, MD
Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (also known as Forestier's Disease) is a type of degenerative arthritis that usually affects the vertebrae of the spine (but sometimes other portions of the body such as heels, elbows, or knees). The disease causes the ligaments that connect to the spine to harden or calcify, and is generally labeled as a progressive condition, which means it can get worse and cause serious complications. There aren’t specific causes for developing the condition, but doctors know that there are some risk factors that are linked to it, such as individuals living with diabetes or obesity, as well as people who are taking specific medications on a long-term basis.
Many times there may be no warning signs or symptoms that you have this condition. But, if you do, symptoms may include back stiffness, especially in the morning, pain in specific parts of the back, mainly the upper portion. You may also notice that your range of motion is being affected, and you may have difficulty moving in specific ways. If you have diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis in other parts of the body, you may feel the same types of symptoms in the affected area.
If the condition goes undiagnosed, you could lose range of motion so much so that you could permanently damage the joints or ligaments affected. Many times, this condition can increase the risk of spinal fracture, which can cause serious pain, damage, and require surgery to fix.
Treatment will include pain management and many times, physical therapy to help reduce stiffness and help increase the motion needed to operate at full functionality. In more rare, serious cases, surgery may be necessary to correct issues such as bone spurs that have been caused by Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis.
For more information, contact Dr. Cash for an appointment at www.disclv.com.