The term mild spondylosis is used to describe the early stages of spinal degeneration in an individual and can account for the presence of neck or back pain. Spondylosis isn’t a specific condition itself, but rather indicates the possible presence of degenerative conditions that might cause neck or back pain. These degenerative conditions occur naturally as an individual ages and may require treatment if they result in nerve compression or other issues that lead to discomfort. Most cases of spondylosis are initially mild and can be managed with conservative, non-surgical treatment, but if degeneration is severe, surgical adjustment may be warranted.
The aging process
Over the years, the regular wear and tear on the spine takes its toll and the spinal anatomy naturally begins to deteriorate. This is part of the normal aging process and accounts for aches, pains and loss of flexibility in the spine. While keeping in tip-top physical condition can help stave off the aging process for a while, age-related degeneration is largely unavoidable. Mild spondylosis isn’t a condition as much as it is a descriptive term used by physicians to describe natural degeneration in the spine. C5-C6 spondylosis, for example, describes the presence of degenerative conditions at the fifth and sixth vertebrae in the cervical (upper) spine.
However, mild spondylosis isn’t considered a comprehensive diagnosis because it doesn’t specify the source of an individual’s symptoms. Some examples of specific types of spinal degeneration include:
- Osteophytes – the development of bone spurs in the spinal column
- Spinal stenosis – the gradual narrowing of the spinal canal or an intervertebral foramen in the spinal column
- Degenerative disc disease – the weakening, tearing or bulging of the intervertebral discs that normally cushion the spine
- Facet disease – a type of osteoarthritis that entails cartilage deterioration, pain and stiffness in the facet joints that connect adjacent vertebrae
Treatment of mild spondylosis is contingent on the specific source of neck or back pain. Mild spondylosis usually doesn’t require anything more than conservative treatments, such as physical therapy or pain medication. If you experience severe spondylosis and are considering spine surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how one of our minimally invasive techniques can help you find relief from neck or back pain.