Spondylosis treatment: conservative methods or surgery?

The goal of spondylosis treatment is to relieve symptoms associated with this potentially debilitating condition. Spondylosis is a broad term describing degeneration of the spinal column caused by the natural aging process. This includes a number of spine conditions like degenerative disc disease and arthritis. Some amount of age-related wear happens to everyone’s spines but treatment is usually required if swelling or displacement of spinal anatomy causes nerve compression and pain.

Symptoms can include local pain in either the neck or back as well as tingling, numbness and weakness in the upper or lower extremities. Spondylosis treatment is usually required when these symptoms begin to interfere with regular activities like work, family time or household chores. Doctors will usually begin with a course of conservative treatment methods before exploring surgery. In fact, many patients are able to successfully manage symptoms and enjoy a high quality of life without resorting to a surgical procedure.

If you have been diagnosed with spondylosis and are considering your treatment options, getting as much information as possible is a great first step. This knowledge can help you better understand when or if surgery is the right course of action. If surgery does become an option it can also help to know about the full range of options available, including the advantages of minimally invasive spine surgery.

Conservative versus surgical spondylosis treatment

The goal of conservative treatment is to find a combination of methods that can relieve pain and regain any lost range of motion caused by spondylosis. Here are some of the most common methods:

  • Periods of rest
  • Hot and cold compression therapy
  • Pain or anti-inflammatory medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Lifestyle changes like posture correction, quitting smoking or weight loss

Surgery is usually considered when conservative options have been exhausted without an improvement in symptoms. Surgery is seen as a last-resort option because of the highly invasive nature of traditional open spine surgery. To access the spine and relieve painful nerve compression, a traditional spine surgeon must make a large, muscle-tearing incision. The result is usually overnight hospitalization followed by a long, sometimes painful, recovery period. There is also significant risk of complications like failed back surgery syndrome, infection and scarring.

Minimally invasive spondylosis treatment

If conservative treatment does not provide relief after several weeks or months, and surgery becomes an option, there are alternatives to traditional open spine surgery. Laser Spine Institute performs minimally invasive spine surgery, which uses state-of-the-art technology to access the spine with a small, muscle-sparing incision. The result is an outpatient procedure that offers patients a shorter recovery time^ with less risk of complications when compared to traditional open spine surgery.

To find out if you may be a candidate for our minimally invasive outpatient procedures, contact us today for a no-cost MRI review* from our dedicated team.