Degenerative Joint Disease (Osteoarthritis) and Pregnancy

Degenerative Joint Disease (Osteoarthritis) and Pregnancy

This Blog Covers:

  • Although degenerative joint disease is most common in individuals over the age of 50, it is possible for people as young as 2 years old to develop this condition.
  • Degenerative joint disease is a general term for osteoarthritis, which is a condition that causes the flexible tissue surrounding bones to wear down.
  • The pain management and spine specialists at American Spine discuss various techniques to mitigate pain caused by degenerative joint disease during pregnancy.

Degenerative joint disease, also called osteoarthritis, is a progressive condition that causes the tissues and cartilage around the ends of bones to erode. Although this disease typically affects patients in their 50s and 60s, it can still affect individuals in their 20s and 30s too.

Pregnant women with osteoarthritis may experience some of the usual symptoms that come with pregnancy, such as back pain, breathlessness, swollen ankles and feet, and discomfort in the abdomen, but they usually experience them differently, or more intensely, due to their condition.

The pain management and spine specialists at American Spine understand pregnant women already have the special undertaking of carrying a child, which is why them team wants to make the process as smooth as possible. Patients will want to consult their OB/GYN in conjunction with their pain management specialist to determine the best course of action when it comes to treatment. Generally speaking, however, there are a few therapies that may be considered safe during pregnancy.

Steroid Injections

Most steroid injections are deemed safe to administer during pregnancy, especially since they deliver medication directly to the source of pain, not through the bloodstream. If you require frequent steroid injections, your doctor may recommend taking a calcium or vitamin D supplement to prevent the development of osteoporosis. You doctor may also recommend steroid injections after you’ve completed your first trimester.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol)

Acetaminophen is considered safe in small, controlled dosages for women who are pregnant. Although there have been many studies about the risk of complication for pregnant women who take acetaminophen, many had limitations and warranted further investigation. For the most part, aspirin and ibuprofen are not recommended for healthy pregnant women, let alone pregnant women with osteoarthritis, but talk to your doctor about the use of these NSAIDs for pain relief.  


An alternative therapy, acupuncture is based on ancient Chinese principles to help manage pain and stress. This practice places small, sterile needles into pain points within the body to boost blood flow and release pain-fighting endorphins. This therapy typically doesn’t produce side effects, but it’s still important to discuss the idea of this therapy with your American Spine physician. For more information about treatment options for degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis) and pregnancy, call American Spine today!

At American Spine, we are dedicated to treating chronic pain and spine conditions. Offering the latest in minimally invasive spine surgery and other effective treatment options, American Spine is the leading pain physician group of California. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call us at (951)-734-PAIN (7246).

The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.