Spondylosis is a term used to refer to pain that results from a variety of degenerative spinal conditions. Our video walk-through can help you visualize 3 common conditions that lead to spondylosis symptoms.
Watch: Spondylosis Video
Spondylosis symptoms can occur in the following areas:
- Neck—cervical spondylosis
- Middle back—thoracic spondylosis
- Lower back—lumbar spondylosis
Watch: Lumbar Spondylolysis Video
Spinal osteoarthritis is the most common cause of spondylosis.
Small joints located between and behind your adjacent vertebrae, called facet joints, are highlighted above in purple. They are the part of your spine that are most often affected by spinal osteoarthritis.
If the cartilage between your facet joints breaks down, your bones will begin to grind against each other. This in turn leads to friction and loss of mobility.
Over time, this friction can result in the development of osteophytes (also known as bone spurs). These bone spurs may cause pain by pressing against your spinal nerves, muscles, or ligaments.
Issues with your facet joints can lead to spondylolisthesis in your lower back.
The image above pictures spondylolisthesis, which occurs when a vertebra slips over the one beneath it.
The picture above shows how a slipped vertebra can pinch or aggravate your sciatic nerve, sending pain down your buttock or leg. These symptoms are referred to as sciatica.
Spinal stenosis can lead to spondylosis
Another common cause of spondylosis is spinal stenosis, which is shown above. The term stenosis refers to the abnormal narrowing of a body channel. So when this term is combined with the word spinal, it refers to the narrowing of the bone channel occupied by your spinal nerves or your spinal cord.
Spinal stenosis symptoms result when one of your spinal nerve roots is pinched as it passes through an opening on the side of each vertebra (called a foramen).
Degenerative disc disease
Spondylosis may also refer to pain caused by degenerative changes in your discs, which results from degenerative disc disease.
The above image shows how a spinal disc begins to thin, lose moisture, and subsequently break down. Pain from degenerative disc disease can originate in the disc itself, or result from changes in the biomechanics of your spine.
Treatment of spondylosis
It is important to remember that spondylosis is not a medical diagnosis. Instead, it is a term that is used to refer to pain that results from degenerative changes in your spine.
So when it comes to treating spondylosis symptoms, you have to tailor your treatment plan to the underlying cause of your symptoms.
For example, treatment options for spondylosis symptoms caused by degenerative disc disease include any of the following: