Spondylosis

Spondylosis is typically a degenerative condition of the joints of the spine and is also known as spinal osteoarthritis. The discs, joints and ligaments of the spine are generally involved. The discs lose their cushioning effect between the spinal bones, the ligaments become weaker or thicken, and the bones can develop bony growths or spurs. Aging and repetitive stresses to the spine are the primary causes of this degeneration, but it also can be present in younger adults who have had prior trauma. Not everyone will have symptoms (usually pain) as a result of spondylosis. If severe, spondylosis may cause pressure on nerve roots with subsequent pain or tingling in the arms or legs.

Conditions

Symptoms

Not everyone will have symptoms (usually pain) as a result of spondylosis. If severe, spondylosis may cause pressure on nerve roots with subsequent pain or tingling in the arms or legs.

Description

Spondylosis is typically a degenerative condition of spinal joints and is also known as spinal osteoarthritis. Discs, joints and ligaments are usually involved. Discs lose their cushioning effect, ligaments become weaker or thicken, and vertebrae can develop bony growths or spurs.

Spondylosis

Screening and Diagnosis of Spondylosis

Your doctor will first perform a physical exam to observe your posture, range of motion and physical condition, noting any movement that causes you pain. A neurological exam may also be performed to test your reflexes and muscle strength. This evaluation also checks out other symptoms, such as numbness, tingling, or bowel and/or bladder problems. As your doctor develops the diagnosis, imaging tests may be performed. These may include X-rays, CT or MRI. An MRI is especially good at showing abnormal discs, ligaments or nerve roots. CT scans can show inflammation of the facet joints, which could indicate spondylosis. With an X-ray, your doctor will be able to see the bony elements of your spine.

Treatments for Spondylosis

Non-surgical treatments for spondylosis include epidural injections, chiropractic care, pain management medications and physical therapy. If the pain continues or there is evidence of a severely compressed nerve, surgery may be considered. Surgery for spondylosis involves two main components: eliminating what is causing pain and then fusing the spine to control movement. Surgery may also include decompression, which means removing the tissue that is pressing on nerves. It is important to discuss treatment options with your doctor in deciding which treatment, if any, may be best for you.

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