Spondylosis is the term used to depict the degenerative progression in which different
areas of the spine, including the cervical (neck), thoracic (upper, mid back), lumbar (low
back) or lumbosacral (low back/sacrum), begin to naturally deteriorate due to factors
such as regular and constant movements like twisting and bending. Another factor that
may contribute to the condition of spondylosis could also be weight gain or arthritis.
Because these factors tend to happen over time, rather than when an individual is
younger, as people begin to age, spondylosis begins to set in. During spondylosis, the
spine’s discs and joints can both be affected.
Due to this process, the spinal discs begin to lose their regular shape, height and size,
diminishing the amount of space between the vertebras and joints. Most common in the
lower back and neck, spondylosis can cause pain in these two areas. As a result of the
spondylosis process, a variety of spinal conditions can result such as the forming of
bone spurs, pinched nerves in the spine, herniated discs, spinal stenosis or even
Supporting the heavy weight of the head with the broad range of movement, the neck is
at high risk for spondylosis. In the same way, the lower back is prone to the condition
due to how it stabilizes and supports the body as a whole. With the lower back being a
key area for spondylosis, the buttocks can also experience pain because of the strain of
weight on the spine. Along with this symptom, a person with spondylosis may also
experience stiffness after long periods of time with no activity or movement, a night’s
rest or even a long nap. Strange tingling or even possible numbness, otherwise known
as paresthesia, may also develop after spondylosis sets in, as well as headaches or
difficulties with balance and walking.
Though most often age, and natural wear and tear are the source of spondylosis, other
factors such as a previous neck or back injury, a genetic predisposition, or even a job
which requires regular heavy lifting, could increase the individual’s risk of forming a
spinal condition. Because of this, though spondylosis is most common in individuals
aged 65+, a person could experience spondylosis as early as their early 20’s.
If symptoms appear, a visit with your doctor to evaluate your range of motion in the neck
and spine will need to be done. In addition, the doctor will check to see if there are any
odd or abnormal curves or shapes in the spine and if the muscles are tight or tender.
The doctor may also check for inflammation and spasms throughout the neck and spinal
areas. Depending on how severe the symptoms are and what the physical appearance
of the neck or spine is, a CT scan or MRI may be requested by the doctor to check and
compare changes from the deterioration. X-rays may also be done to check on the
Though being painful, most cases of spondylosis are only mild and do not require
extensive treatment. To aid in finding comfort, consistent exercise as well as over the counter pain killers are helpful. In extreme cases, doctors may recommend physical
therapy or steroid injections.