Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) of the Spine

Degenerative joint disease of the spine, also known as osteoarthritis of the spine, occurs when the cartilage and discs that cushion the vertebrae in the neck and back begin to stiffen and shrink. When these natural buffers between the bones in the spine shrink (most commonly due to age), the spaces between the vertebrae get reduced and there is a likelihood of developing bone spurs from the added friction. Pain, numbness, weakness, and stiffness in the neck and back can occur when these bone spurs pinch a nerve in the spine.

Most treatments for degenerative joint disease of the spine include healthy lifestyle changes (diet and exercise) and pain management medication. Medication may include over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen or NSAIDS, prescription pain relievers, mild narcotics, or regular steroid injections. If a patient’s bodily functions or mobility are significantly impaired by this condition, their doctor may recommend surgery.

Spine osteoarthritis infographic

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MedStar Washington Hospital Center Medical-Surgical Unit Receives AMSN PRISM Award® for Exemplary Practice

Washington, D.C. – The 5E Medical Oncology/Hematology Unit at MedStar Washington Hospital Center has received the prestigious AMSN PRISM Award®, an honor recognizing exceptional nursing practice, leadership, and outcomes in hospital medical-surgical units.

The award, which stands for “Premier Recognition In the Specialty of Med-Surg,” is the first of its kind honoring med-surg nursing units in the United States and internationally. It is co-sponsored by the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN) and the Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board (MSNCB). The award is given to outstanding acute care/med-surg units or adult/pediatric units classified as med-surg.

Andrea Melendez, MSN, RN, National Secretary of AMSN, presented the 5E Medical Oncology/Hematology team with the AMSN PRISM Award plaque during a ceremony Wednesday, August 14, on the unit. 

“I am so proud of the 5E team. This is such a phenomenal accomplishment,” said Tonya R. Washington, MSN, RN, senior vice president of nursing and chief nursing officer at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “We are so delighted that their excellent team work, patient care and outcomes are recognized with this prestigious award.”

Hoping to inspire nurses to strive for the highest levels of patient safety and quality, AMSN and MSNCB launched the award in October 2012. The award also reflects the compassion, commitment, and connection that characterize med-surg nurses.

There are more than 600,000 medical-surgical nurses practicing in the United States today, making them the single largest group of specialty nurses working in hospital settings, according to AMSN. Med-surg nurses oversee a broad spectrum of patient care responsibilities, another reason the acronym “PRISM” was chosen for the award.

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MedStar Washington Hospital Center is a 912-bed, major teaching and research hospital. It is the largest private, not-for-profit hospital in the nation’s capital, among the 100 largest hospitals in the nation and a major referral center for treating the most complex cases. Its cardiology program is highly acclaimed and its cardiac surgery program has consistently earned the highest national rating–three stars–from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. It also is a respected top facility in the areas of cancer, diabetes & endocrinology, Ear, Nose & Throat, gastroenterology & GI surgery, geriatrics, gynecology, nephrology, pulmonology and urology. It operates MedSTAR, a nationally-verified level I trauma center with a state-of-the-art fleet of helicopters and ambulances, and also operates the region’s only adult Burn Center.

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