What is Spondylosis?




Over time, the spine’s strength and structure begin to deteriorate as the result of many years of wear and tear. Because the spine bears the weight of the upper body, protects the spinal cord and is constantly flexing and bending, it is susceptible to degenerative changes. Within the complex system of ligaments, vertebrae, joints, nerves and muscles that make up the spinal column, almost every component can become injured or diseased as we age. Although some of these complications may be minor, even subtle spinal problems can lead to larger, more debilitating conditions because of its integrated and interdependent nature.

Spondylosis is a medical term used to refer to the general degeneration of the spine and its shock-absorbing intervertebral discs. Degenerative changes may occur in the neck (known as the cervical region), middle back (thoracic region) or lower back (lumbar region) and tends to worsen with as an individual grows older. The United States currently sees more than 3 million cases of spondylosis per year, most of which usually appear in conjunction with other spinal issues. Spondylosis is a chronic condition that oftentimes lasts years or throughout a patient’s lifetime, but many people don’t have symptoms until the degeneration of the spinal column causes a secondary complication. While spondylosis can’t be cured, there are many advanced treatment options available to address the changes associated with this issue.

Causes

The primary underlying causes of spondylosis are aging and the general wear and tear associated with the body’s natural life. However, there are several factors that may exacerbate or worsen spondylosis. The following are some of the most prominent:

  • Unexpected or sudden injuries and traumas, such as might occur during manual labor, high-impact sports, motor vehicle accidents or hard falls
  • Genetic predisposition, congenital spine abnormalities or a family history of back pain
  • Conditions like facet joint osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis or degenerative disc disease, benign or cancerous tumors, bone spurs and herniated or ruptured discs
  • Obesity
  • Smoking and/or the excessive use of alcohol
  • Malnutrition
  • Lack of exercise
  • Making repetitive movements that strain the spine, as one might in a profession that requires regularly lifting heavy objects, highly physical work or driving long distances

If you believe you have a high chance of developing spondylosis, schedule a consultation today with one of our Board-certified spine specialists. We are committed to helping you find safe and helpful ways to maintain long-term spine health, so that you can live an active and happy life.

Symptoms

Since spondylosis is a blanket term for spinal and disc degeneration, a variety of symptoms may arise depending on the location, severity and nature of the underlying problem. General symptoms to take note of include:

  • Lower back, middle back or neck pain
  • Herniated discs
  • Pinched nerves
  • Sciatica
  • Numbness and weakness in the affected area and associated limbs
  • Tingling and pins-and-needles sensations in the affected area and associated limbs
  • Headaches
  • A limited range of motion, stiffness in spinal joints and the feeling that bones are “grinding” against one another
  • Trouble maintaining balance and the inability to perform in everyday activities without encountering pain or discomfort

It is crucial to determine the problems associated with your unique case of spondylosis as quickly as possible, since many of the potential issues are dangerous and may lead to further complications. By promptly treating spondylosis, it can be possible to restore or safeguard your quality of life.

If incontinence of the bladder or bowels, immobility or fever are experienced in conjunction with back pain, call 911 immediately. Sometimes displaced elements of the spine can compress an important bundle of nerves, which spurs a life-threatening condition known as “cauda equina syndrome.”

Our Minimally Invasive Treatment Approach

Oftentimes, patients faced with spondylosis assume that there is nothing they can do to find relief from the symptoms following their condition, as it is impossible to reverse the body’s natural aging processes. However, there are many ways to treat the spinal conditions associated with spondylosis. At Minimally Invasive SpineCARE®, our team of experienced spine specialists is dedicated to helping each and every patient suffering from spondylosis meet their health and wellness goals. For many patients, a pain-free life can be possible!

During your initial visit with Minimally Invasive SpineCARE®, one of our highly skilled physicians will carefully and compassionately analyze your medical history and physical state. To identify the precise spondylosis-related damage causing you pain and discomfort, a diagnostic imaging test like a C.T. scan, X-ray or MRI may be requested. Based upon the information gathered, as well as your unique needs and goals, our team will then recommend an integrated treatment plan designed to best help you.

For most patients, conservative, non-surgical treatments provide ample restoration to the body. Research shows that the following methods of care can be effective in managing spondylosis:

Physical Therapy: By guiding the body through therapeutic exercises, physical therapists enable patients to strengthen their abdominal muscles and lose excess pounds. Both of these changes can significantly decrease the severity of the patient’s spondylosis symptoms through less strain on the spine.

Medication: Specialized medications that combat pain and inflammation can often reduce pain and discomfort for lengthy periods of time, after which time the issues associated with spondylosis usually resolve naturally. Although we regularly advise patients to use oral and topical medications, we are also able to implement state-of-the-art medicinal delivery techniques at our spine clinics. Ultrasound technology, mild electrical stimulation and localized injections can all maximize the benefits of the prescribed medication.

Alternative Treatments: Heating and cooling modalities, therapeutic massage, spinal decompression therapy and other evidence-based treatments commonly help patients encountering spondylosis.

If spondylosis has already caused painful, inhibiting secondary injuries or if conservative treatments fail to bring about adequate relief, surgical intervention may be necessary. At Minimally Invasive SpineCARE®, our surgeons specialize in performing minimally invasive laparoscopic surgeries that, when compared to open operations, have many benefits that include:

  • Shortened recovery times that allow patients to get back their quality of life much sooner
  • A reduced risk of scarring and trauma to nearby soft tissues
  • Minimized blood loss
  • Less noted pain after the surgery and during the recovery process

To discover if you are a candidate for minimally invasive surgery or to learn more about spondylosis, please do not hesitate to contact us directly by calling 972-255-5588 or by filling out the form on this page. We look forward to speaking with you!

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