Spondylosis is a condition where the bones that make up the spine (vertebrae) degenerate. Typically this degeneration forms bony projections (bone spurs) and reduces the height of the spongy discs between the vertebrae.
Spondylosis is often called spinal osteoarthritis. It can affect the neck (cervical spine), upper, mid and lower back (thoracic spine and lumbar spine). The most common area affected is that of the lumbar spine and cervical spine.
The causes of spondylosis are:
The signs and symptoms of spondylosis include:
Sometimes, you may have spondylosis, but not show any symptoms.
Your doctor will diagnose spondylosis after reviewing your medical history and performing a physical examination.
Additional diagnostic tests for spondylosis may be ordered, including Radiology tests such as:
Treatment of spondylosis depends on the severity of symptoms.
Conservative therapy may include:
You can use heat and/or ice therapy to lessen the pain. You can also use special cervical pillows to relieve neck pain while sleeping.
Your therapist will teach you exercises to strengthen your back and stomach muscles. Regular walking and yoga will also help in relieving chronic back pain.
Acupuncture, which involves the insertion of very thin needles into the body, may be beneficial for back pain.
Chiropractic spinal manipulations can also be suggested to correct the spinal alignment and improve your body’s function.
Your doctor may suggest minimally invasive procedures such as steroid injection and radiofrequency denervation.
Steroids may be injected into facet joints (joints between adjacent vertebrae), epidural space (space around the spinal cord), or intervertebral disc spaces, to reduce acute pain and pain radiating into a limb.
Your doctor may also perform radiofrequency denervation technique, in which the nerves causing pain are detected and treated, to stop the transfer of pain messages.
Your doctor will suggest surgery if conservative treatment does not relieve pain from spondylosis. Spinal decompression surgery is a general term used for various procedures that are performed to relieve pressure on your nerves caused by compression. These include the following procedures:
Your surgeon may combine vertebral fusion with any of these surgical procedures in order to stabilize the spine.