As you age, some amount of spine degeneration is common. Spondylosis is the broad term used to refer to any type of degeneration in the spine. Although technically a form of arthritis, spondylosis is normal, age-related wear and tear to the spinal column, usually present in the lumbar spine. More than 80% of people over the age of 40 have lumbar spondylosis.
Lower back pain is a highly common symptom that requires accurate diagnosis to pinpoint the specific pain generator. If you’re not sure what’s causing your spinal symptoms, contact Desert Institute for Spine Care. We offer diagnoses and treatment for a wide range of spine conditions, including spondylosis.
Spondylosis is often applied nonspecifically to any degenerative condition impacting the spine’s structures, including the intervertebral disks, vertebrae and joints. However, it’s also another name for degenerative arthritic changes to the spine — spinal osteoarthritis.
As you age, a variety of degenerative changes can occur to the spine’s delicate structures. The gel-filled discs that cushion the vertebrae begin to lose fluid and collapse in height. The ligaments can become thickened and stiff. The facet joints that connect the vertebrae also can fall victim to spondylosis as the cartilage that protects against painful and damaging bone-on-bone contact breaks down.
Spondylosis is common, and some patients who have it experience no pain. However, spondylosis can lead to the creation of painful bone spurs. To preserve the spine’s stability and protect against stress, your body sometimes creates spinal bone spurs, called osteophytes. These bony growths can put pressure on the surrounding spine structures, including nerves and the spinal cord, leading to painful symptoms.
Spondylosis symptoms and treatment depend on the severity and location of the degenerative changes to the spine.
Patients with lumbar spondylosis have symptoms that primarily generate from the lower back, including:
For cervical spondylosis, expect your symptoms to be located in the neck region, such as: