Spondylosis is not a clinically accurate description of a single condition. Rather, it describes conditions resulting in the degeneration of spinal function.
Frequently used to describe the result of osteoarthritis, it’s a catch-all term which covers a wide range of spinal dysfunction which produces pain and degeneration. At fault can be several conditions, including facet joint osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal).
That said, all patients visiting their doctors with back pain do not have conditions described by the term spondylosis. Pain may be originating from a condition which has not caused degeneration, but which is causing pain.
Spinal degeneration is part of the aging process, but when it’s being provoked by an underlying condition, the precise cause requires diagnosis.
Many people who exhibit signs of spondylosis in imaging diagnostics are entirely asymptomatic. Degeneration in the spine doesn’t necessarily cause pain. What causes pain is nerve compression.
Spondylosis pain is usually localized in the affected area, although cervical spondylosis can produce pain which radiates into the shoulders and arms. When degeneration affects the nerve roots implicated, shooting pains in the limbs may be experienced.
A disc herniation in the lower back may also produce shooting pains caused by compression of the nerves and radicular (radiating) pain in the legs.
Diagnosis and treatment.
Diagnostic imaging protocols like X-Rays, MRIs and CT scans can pinpoint the underlying condition responsible for the pain being experienced. Of these three, MRIs are probably the most effective, due to the detail revealed by this style of imaging.
Because spondylosis is an umbrella term to describe the degenerative effects of a complex of conditions, conservative therapies are those applied, unless otherwise indicated. Exercise, physical therapy and drug therapy can all serve to relieve the pain associated with spondylosis.
Some patients are counseled to lose weight to alleviate pressure on the spine while strengthening the muscles of the core (abdomen) to support it.
Minimally-invasive injection therapies which deliver anesthetic and/or cortisone to the affected areas, as well as minimally invasive surgery may also be called upon.
Analgesics, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatory medications may all be deployed to help manage the patient’s pain. Some patients do well with over the counter solutions, while others require prescription medications.
Topical medicinal formulations are also found to be helpful by some patients.
Spine Care NJ.
If you’ve been diagnosed with spondylosis, but continue to experience pain, the team at Spine Consult NJ can help.
We’re specialized to treat all conditions of the spine, offering superior outcomes for our patients through the application of personalized plans of therapy. Contact us to schedule a consultation. We have your wellbeing in mind.