The symptoms of an aging spine, also known as spondylosis, do not always occur with other spine conditions. As a person gets older, the spine begins to weaken or degenerate, which can cause painful symptoms associated with spondylosis. Spinal weakening typically begins around middle age without noticeable symptoms. However, when the spinal cord, joints or nerves in the spine get irritated or compressed, spondylosis symptoms can begin. To learn about the specific symptoms associated with this condition as well as the causes of developing spondylosis, read the following article.
Causes of spondylosis
Pressure on a nerve, also known as nerve compression, can be caused by conditions such as:
- Herniated discs
- Bulging discs
- Bone spurs
- Abnormalities in various parts of the spine
Symptoms can also occur when the joints between the vertebrae wear down, becoming stiff and painful. The chronic neck or back pain associated with spondylosis can typically be managed through nonsurgical treatments like chiropractic care, yoga and lifestyle changes.
Spondylosis and nerve compression
Spondylosis symptoms can differ for everyone, depending on the location and intensity of the nerve pressure. For example, nerve compression in the neck can produce symptoms in the shoulders, upper back, arms, hands and fingers. In the lower back, pressure on the sciatic nerve, the largest and longest nerve in the body, can produce symptoms in the back, buttocks, legs, feet and toes.
The symptoms of nerve compression caused by spondylosis can include:
- Intermittent pain
- Pain that radiates into the extremities
- Joint or muscular stiffness after sleeping, usually in the morning
- Muscular weakness
- Tingling or a pins-and-needles sensation
- Numbness or loss of sensation
- Tenderness in the area of nerve compression
- Loss of bowel and bladder control (which requires immediate medical attention)
You may also experience spondylosis symptoms if cartilage wears away from the joints in the spine, also known as the facet joints. Facet joints are the connections between vertebrae that make your back flexible, enabling you to bend and twist. Normally, the facet joints have a thick coating of cartilage to help them move smoothly and painlessly. When cartilage wears away, neck and back movements can become stiff and painful. Therefore, it may become difficult to stand up and lift heavy objects, while some patients may start to walk in a hunched position.
Managing spondylosis symptoms
Spondylosis isn’t reversible, but it is treatable. Chronic spondylosis symptoms can be managed using nonsurgical treatment, also called conservative care. These options can include pain medication, epidural steroid injections, physical therapy and hot or cold therapy. If you’re still experiencing chronic pain after several weeks or months of nonsurgical treatment, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how our minimally invasive spine surgery may be able to provide you with lasting relief.
Using a less than 1-inch incision, our minimally invasive procedures treat most common spine conditions without the increased risk of complication and lengthy recovery^ associated with traditional open back surgery. With a patient recommendation score of 98 out of 100, our minimally invasive spine surgery is a safer and effective alternative to traditional spine surgery.^
To help relieve the symptoms associated with spondylosis, our board-certified surgeons+ may recommend a minimally invasive decompression surgery or minimally invasive stabilization surgery to provide relief. During a decompression surgery, a less than 1-inch incision is used to remove a small portion of a spinal disc or bone, in order to take pressure off the nerve that’s causing you chronic pain.
Depending on the severity of your condition, a stabilization surgery may also be used to remove the diseased disc or vertebra through a small incision that is muscle sparing and replacing it with an implant and/or bone graft, providing pain relief and immediate stability. To learn if our procedures would be effective in relieving the pain associated with spondylosis, reach out to our caring team today. Through a free MRI review,* we can determine if you are a candidate for our outpatient spondylosis surgery.