In order to better focus the best type of treatment, patients who have been told they have spondylosis should ask their treating physician several questions for clarification about which part of the spine is degenerating. For example:

Patients should also ask whether or not any related conditions, such as spinal stenosis, require attention. If a person can get these questions answered, he or she is likely to have a better idea of what is causing the pain and thus is more likely to find effective treatments.

See Preparing to See A Doctor for Back and Neck Pain

In This Article:

Understanding the Relationship Between Spinal Degeneration and Pain

Patients who have evidence of spondylosis on an MRI or a CT scan should not assume that the degeneration is causing their pain. Spinal degeneration is a natural part of aging, and the patient’s pain may or may not be caused by it.

See Causes of Lower Back Pain and Causes of Upper Back Pain


For patients who have multiple findings listed on their MRI or other diagnostic test results, a finding of spondylosis and other conditions may not mean that there are multiple conditions causing pain. For example, an MRI scan that lists cervical spondylosis and cervical facet degeneration would likely mean a clinical diagnosis of cervical osteoarthritis, which is one condition, not two.

Dr. David DeWitt is an orthopedic surgeon practicing at the NeuroSpine Center of Wisconsin, where he specializes in spine surgery. He has more than 15 years of experience evaluating and treating spine diseases and trauma.