Spondylosis and back pain

Spondylosis is a common cause of back pain in people over the age of 50. The word spondylosis is sometimes means osteoarthritis in the spine, but it can also be used as an overall term to describe age-related degeneration in the spine. Although spondylosis can cause back pain in any part of the spine, it mainly affects the joints and the cushions — spinal discs — that separate vertebrae in the spinal column. Spondylosis is often accompanied by potentially painful conditions such as herniated discs, pinched nerves and bone spurs.

How does spondylosis cause back pain?

Most back pain not caused by a muscle strain or sprain is caused by spinal nerves being compressed because of changes or injuries to the structure of the spine. As spondylosis sets in, there are two major ways it can cause nerve compression and pain.

When we’re young, the body feeds moisture to the discs in our spines, keeping them lubricated and springy so they can keep up with the stresses of everyday movement. However, as a normal part of aging, the discs begin to dry out. As this happens, they become less able to absorb shocks the way they’re meant to and can become damaged. The result can be a slipped disc or degenerative disc disease, both of which can cause painful compressed nerves.

Another natural part of the aging process is the erosion of the cartilage that keeps the bones of joints from grinding against each other as we move. Early in life, this cartilage serves as a protective wrapping for the joints, including the facet joints in our spine that allow it to bend. Once the protective wrapping is gone, bone damage can occur. Bones are genetically programmed to try to repair damage by growing new bone, which can lead to the formation of bone spurs. These bone spurs can then place pressure on nerves and cause conditions like sciatica.

Relieving back pain caused by spondylosis

Spondylosis is a degenerative condition that usually starts with mild symptoms that can worsen over time. An important thing you can do to delay this is to stay active — strong muscles help support the spine and can help combat the effects of spondylosis. Conservative measures recommended by your physician, like over-the-counter pain relievers, are generally enough to control the pain at first, although prescription drugs and physical therapy may be used to treat spondylosis symptoms if they progress.

If back pain from spondylosis continues to worsen despite conservative treatment and is limiting your quality of life, contact Laser Spine Institute. We have developed a range of both minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures that offer fewer risks and faster recovery times compared to traditional open spine surgeries. Our outpatient procedures are often the clinically appropriate surgical first choice compared to traditional methods. Contact us today to learn more.