Spondylosis — lumbar spondylosis in the L5-S1 vertebrae

Lumbar spondylosis is a spine condition that describes the natural deterioration the lower spine due to age and compression. While spondylosis can occur throughout the spine, the most common location of occurrence is in the lowest portion of the spine, where the lumbar meets the sacrum, or tailbone, spine. This type of spondylosis is called L5-S1 spondylosis because it is found in the last vertebra of the lumbar spine (L5) and the first vertebra of the sacral spine (S1).

Most patients over the age of 50 have some form of mild to progressive spondylosis in the lumbar spine. However, most cases of spondylosis do not result in any symptoms. If you are experiencing symptoms of lower back pain, stiffness and limited mobility, you may need to schedule an appointment with your physician to determine if you have a progressive case of spondylosis. Spondylosis can often result in other forms of spine conditions that do result in symptoms and further degeneration of the spine.

Causes of lumbar spondylosis

The spine is made up of several vertebrae stacked on top of each other. A vertebra is a small bone that builds the core structure of the spine. On either side of a vertebra is a disc and joint, both made of soft tissue and sponge-like texture to allow the vertebra to bend and move.

The purpose of the lumbar spine in your lower back is to support and stabilize most of the body’s weight. Over time, as the spine undergoes years of repetitive motion, heavy lifting, and possible weight gain, the vertebrae of the lumbar spine become compressed and push into the discs and joints from both sides, much like a clamp. This constant pressure can cause the discs and joints to gradually deteriorate and possibly develop other spine conditions, such as spinal stenosis or spondylolisthesis. This is particularly true in the L5-S1 vertebrae because that holds the most weight and stability of the body.

Another main cause of lumbar spondylosis is arthritis of the spine. Typically, arthritis of the spine develops later in life and contributes to the gradual degeneration of the components of the spine. This also could lead to the development of other spine conditions, such as bone spurs.

Treatment options for spondylosis in the L5-S1 vertebrae

If you have been diagnosed with spondylosis in the L5-S1 vertebrae, you have several types of treatment available to you for your condition.

Most mild forms of spondylosis respond well to conservative treatment methods, such as chiropractic care and physical therapy. Conservative treatment methods can often be combined to help increase your pain relief and positive results. Consult your physician to create a treatment regimen that fits your needs and helps alleviate your pain.

If you are not experiencing any relief from conservative treatments, you may consider a surgical approach to treat your spondylosis. At Laser Spine Institute, we offer a safer, effective alternative to open back surgery to treat spondylosis. Review our minimally invasive decompression surgery for spondylosis and our minimally invasive stabilization surgery for spondylosis to learn more.