Lumbar spondylosis is a degenerative disorder in the lower-back region of the spine. Since the lumbar spine is responsible for bearing most of the body’s weight, as well as performing a full range of bending and twisting motions, it is extremely common for spondylosis to occur in this area.
Causes of Lumbar Spondylosis
When we’re young, our bodies naturally keep the discs and soft tissue between our vertebrae moist and springy, so that they can stand up to the stress and strain we place on them. A thick coating of lubricating cartilage keeps the joints between our vertebrae moving smoothly. However, when we get older, our body chemistry changes. Soft tissues dry up, lose their elasticity, and wear away. This leads to a bevy of problems as our discs deteriorate, ligaments and tendons wear out, and cartilage erodes. These may include:
- Ruptured discs
- Bulging discs
- Spinal stenosis
- Foraminal stenosis
- Bone spurs
- Arthritis of the Spine
Lumbar Spondylosis Symptoms and Treatment Options
As with most spinal conditions, the pain from spondylosis is mostly caused by nerve compression as the structures of the spine become abnormal, or by joint stiffness as cartilage erodes. The most common lumbar spondylosis symptoms include:
- Lower back pain and stiffness
- Pain that is worse in the morning, and improves with exercise
- Shooting pains that start in the lower back and travel down the legs (sciatica)
- Loss of coordination or difficulty walking
In more serious cases, neurological problems and bowel and bladder control issues may be present. If these symptoms appear suddenly, or begin to get worse, seek medical help immediately.
Treatment options for lumbar spondylosis are almost always non-invasive and conservative. Activity, lifestyle changes, and over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are usually the first course of treatment, and are very effective in mild cases. Moderate or chronic cases may require additional treatment, such as prescription anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone shots to the spine, and physical therapy. Many people also report relief from alternative treatments, such as acupuncture, massage therapy, and chiropractic treatments. For very severe cases, your physician may recommend surgical treatment.
If chronic pain from lumbar spondylosis is limiting your activities, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how our outpatient endoscopic procedures can help you rediscover your life without back pain.