Spondylosis is a general term for age-related wear and tear affecting the spinal disks and joints in your spine at lower back or neck. As the disks dehydrate and shrink, signs of osteoarthritis develop, including bony projections along the edges of bones (bone spurs). It is a type of osteoarthritis of the spine that tends to make spinal stiff and porous, due to which the spinal discs and joints degenerate, causing bone spurs.

Types of Spondylosis

The types of spondylosis are determined by the part of the spinal canal it affects.

  • Cervical Spondylosis- The beginning part of the spine is thin, strong, and integrated with the thoracic spine. It is comparatively flexible to allow free movement of the neck. But due to osteoarthritis, the joints and the discs degenerate and constrict the free movement of vertebral joints.

  • Thoracic spondylosis– Thoracic is the middle region of the spine. In thoracic spondylosis the disc becomes thinner, joints degenerate, and ligaments connecting to bones tightens, altogether hindering the flexible easy-to-go movement of the thoracic spine.


  • Lumbar Spondylosis– When the lower spine retains too much pressure, such that the lower back is affected causing symptoms, is called lumbar spondylosis. In this condition, arthritis thins down the lumbar disc and reduces its cushioning effectiveness.

Causes

The spine bears the body’s weight, allows movements, and provides an axis for nervous communication with the entire system. But, damage to any part of the spine triggers synchronous chain reactions on nerves, muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounding the damaged part. 

As we age, the body vitals start losing strength. The spinal canal suffers age-related degeneration and becomes brittle. The muscles become rigid and lose their flexibility, they are unable to bear stress forces, exerting more strain on the spine. 

As a result, the soft intervertebral discs get compressed, and the vertebral structure lunges. The vertebral compression causes bone collapse, and minor cracks to develop. This usually happens in osteoporosis. In addition, the joint-facet erode due to friction, and bone spurs occur. This condition is called osteoarthritis.This osteoarthritis-induced spinal degeneration causes spondylosis.

Risk Factors

The risk factor for developing spondylosis include:

  • Generic tendency
  • Overweight
  • Repititive weight-bearing exercises
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Smoking and alocoholism

Symptoms

Pain is the most common presenting symptom in patient with spondylosis. Some other known symptoms of spondylosis are:

  • Muscle spasms
  • restricted movements and stiffness
  • Weakness in hands and legs
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty walking

Spondylosis Diagnosis and Treatment

Most cases of spondylosis produce mild pain and stiffness, which people manage with home remedies such as hot oil massage, physical therapy, improving postures, and exercising. However, if the painful episodes increase, youyr doctor may prescribes some of the imaging test like Xray or Mri scans for the spine.

Nerve function tests – You may need tests to determine if nerve signals are traveling properly to your muscles. Nerve function tests include:

  • Electromyography. This test measures the electrical activity in your nerves as they transmit messages to your muscles when the muscles are contracting and at rest.

The doctor concludes and categorizes spondylosis based on the symptoms and diagnostic reports. Most cases are due to age-related degeneration that subsides with home remedies and some pain killer and relaxants medications. But if the patient experiences frequent painful episodes of spondylosis that lead to other complications, the doctor may indicate an appropriate surgical solution.

The treatments are as follows: 

Alternative treatments

  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractic
  • Message 
  • Electrical stimulation

Surgery:

The doctor will recommend surgery when the pain is persistent and not manageable with medications and exercise.

The surgery aims to reduce the spondylosis symptoms, including severe numbness, constricted movement, loss of bladder control, and nerve distension causing complexions such as sciatica and paralysis. Surgery is well-deserved in cases that do not respond to conservative methods and deteriorate further.