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, symptoms can begin.
Pressure on a nerve — also known as nerve compression — can be caused by conditions like:
- Herniated disc
- Bulging disc
- Bone spurs
- Abnormality in the body’s anatomy
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 to another part of the body
- 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
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. It may become difficult to stand up, 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 or injections, physical therapy, hot or cold therapy, and chiropractic care.
If you’re still experiencing chronic pain after weeks or months of conservative care, Laser Spine Institute’s minimally invasive spine surgery may be able to provide you with relief from chronic neck or back pain.
Using a less than 1-inch incision, our minimally invasive outpatient procedures treat most common spine conditions without the increased risks and lengthy recovery times^ associated with traditional open back surgery. With a patient recommendation score of 97 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 small portion of a spinal disc or bone will be removed, to take pressure off the nerve that’s causing you chronic pain. A stabilization surgery involves removing the diseased disc or vertebra and replacing it with an implant and/or bone graft, providing pain relief and immediate stability.
For more information about how our minimally invasive outpatient procedures can relieve the pain associated with spondylosis, contact the Care Team at Laser Spine Institute today.