Sports related spondylosis
Spondylosis occurs when the spinal anatomy begins to deteriorate. The general term “spondylosis” is frequently used to refer to any disease of the spine that is degenerative in nature. This condition entails the wear of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine and can take the form of a variety of symptoms such as pain, numbness, tingling and weakness as well as conditions, such as spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease and osteoarthritis.
While the most common cause of spondylosis is age-related spinal degeneration, the condition is also seen in young athletes, particularly those who participate in sports that involve spinal hyperextension, rotation and other repetitive movements that can strain and injure the spinal components. Spondylosis occurs more frequently among amateur athletes than professional competitors. This phenomenon can be attributed to the fact that the musculoskeletal system naturally adapts over time to intense activity, and thus a professional athlete is conditioned to handle increasing levels of stress.
Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that spinal deterioration does not always cause immediate discomfort. Because the condition usually progresses gradually, a sports injury can result in back pain that doesn’t manifest until months or even years later. If you are an athlete, read the following article to learn how to protect yourself from this condition and the treatment options available if you begin to develop spondylosis symptoms.
How athletes can protect themselves
Spinal degeneration cannot be reversed. Therefore, preventing spondylosis is always preferable to treating it after it develops. Here are some protective strategies for athletes:
- Build bone density — the vertebral bones can be strengthened and rendered more able to withstand fractures through targeted resistance training and consumption of recommended levels of calcium and vitamin D
- Wear appropriate footwear — proper shoes provide a supportive base that helps keep the body balanced and in alignment, which can reduce stress on the spine and the potential for developing spondylosis
- Focus on maintaining rotary stability — maintain control over the movement of the lumbar spine to help prevent injury; think of a professional baseball pitcher who efficiently controls his rotary motion while pitching a ball
- Strengthen the core muscles — by improving the body’s overall strength and power, it is possible to generate more force in the upper and lower body with less movement of the lumbar spine
If spondylosis symptoms develop
If you are experiencing spondylosis symptoms, you should promptly consult with a doctor for an accurate diagnosis. In most cases, mild to moderate discomfort can be managed effectively with nonsurgical treatments, such as pain medications, physical therapy and a chiropractic manipulation. However, if your spondylosis symptoms persist or worsen through several weeks or months of conservative therapy, you might want to contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about our minimally invasive techniques.
Our board-certified surgeons+ have perfected minimally invasive surgeries that are safer and effective alternatives to traditional open spine surgery^ for treating spondylosis. We offer a full range of treatments for degenerative spine conditions, including a minimally invasive foraminotomy, discectomy and laminotomy. Reach out to us today for a free MRI review* to learn if you are a potential candidate for our outpatient procedures.