Spondylosis — overview of causes and diagnosis

Spondylosis is a spine condition that describes the deterioration of the spine. Spondylosis has many facets and causes, ranging from the natural degradation process of the spine to other spine conditions, such as bone spurs or spinal stenosis.

Most patients with mild spondylosis do not suffer from any symptoms. In fact, most people over the age of 70 have very mild cases of spondylosis. However, if spondylosis progresses or is accompanied by another spine condition, symptoms such as chronic pain and limited mobility may occur.

Causes of spondylosis

Most cases of spondylosis are caused by the natural deterioration of the spine over time. For this reason, most cases of spondylosis occur in the lower back.

The spine is comprised of three main sections: cervical (neck), thoracic (middle back) and lumbar (lower back). The lumbar portion of the spine is largely responsible for carrying the body’s weight and providing stability. As time goes on and weight gain occurs, the components of the lumbar spine, such as the vertebrae and discs, become compressed. The continual compression of the spine may cause the components to slowly degrade and develop problems, such as bone spurs, deteriorated discs, and several other spine conditions.

Spondylosis is a broad term that describes the general wear and tear of the spine, but there are several spine conditions that occur either as a result of or in conjunction with spondylosis. The main conditions that are associated with spondylosis include:

  • Bone spurs
  • Herniated discs
  • Arthritis of the spine
  • Injury
  • Spinal stenosis

The most common cause of spondylosis is natural age and the compression of the spine over time.

Diagnosing spondylosis

Most mild cases of spondylosis do not show symptoms. If you suspect you have spondylosis, you should schedule an appointment with your physician to discuss your symptoms and concerns. Your physician will likely order an MRI test or CT scan to view the anatomy of your spine and determine whether or not you have spondylosis.

An MRI test or CT scan will also help your physician determine the cause of your spondylosis, which will help you decide if treatment is necessary. In many cases, spondylosis can be treated with conservative treatment methods, such as a weight loss program, exercises, and chiropractic care. Your physician can help you create a treatment regimen that will meet your needs.

If you are not responding to conservative treatment methods, consult your physician about a surgical treatment option. At Laser Spine Institute, we offer a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery. Our minimally invasive stabilization surgery and minimally invasive decompression surgery are both designed to help treat spondylosis, while still providing shorter recovery time^ and less complication risk than traditional open back surgery. Consult your physician about the surgical options available to you to help treat your spondylosis.