Spondylosis symptoms and treatment options

Spondylosis is part of the aging process that everyone experiences to some degree. This condition describes a disease of the spine that is degenerative in nature. Spondylosis should not be confused with spondylolysis or spondylolisthesis, as it is specific to osteoarthritic spinal degeneration. A variety of disease processes, as well as genetics and lifestyle, influence how individuals age. This is highly visible, for example, in persons who develop gray hair prematurely.

Because everyone ages differently, spondylosis pain begins differently for everyone. For some people, spondylosis symptoms develop early and some people may never experience them. It just depends on your individual situation. Read on to learn more about the symptoms and treatment options associated with this degenerative condition.

What are the symptoms of spondylosis?

Spondylosis can affect any part of the spine. The symptoms experienced will depend on which part of the spine the disease is affecting.

For example, if you have osteoarthritis in your cervical spine (neck), you might have the following symptoms:

  • Shoulder or neck stiffness in the morning that may prevent you from moving easily after you get out of bed
  • Sporadic pain that radiates to your shoulders, arms and hands
  • Numbness or soreness in your neck and shoulders
  • Headaches that mainly affect the back of your head
  • Difficulty keeping balanced

If arthritic changes are found in the thoracic spine (middle back), the patient might feel:

  • Stiffness in the middle back after getting up in the morning
  • Pain when bending or extending the body
  • Pain in the upper and middle back

People with age-related degeneration in their lumbar spine (lower back) may experience:

  • Stiffness in the lower back after getting up in the morning
  • Numbness, soreness or pain in the lower back
  • Radiating pain along the sciatic nerve
  • Leg weakness and difficulty walking

Treatment of spondylosis

There is no cure for spondylosis. However, symptomatic relief is possible. As with all osteoarthritis and other degenerative conditions, the goal is acceptable symptom management. There are a number of useful management strategies. Always check with your physician before initiating any therapy to ensure that the particular type of therapeutic activity is right for you.

Some people with spondylosis have found relief through conservative treatments, including:

  • Over-the-counter medications, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  • Physical therapy, heat massages, hydrotherapy and ultrasound therapy
  • Prescription muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatories and pain relief medications
  • Alternative treatments, such as chiropractic care, acupuncture or herbal medicine
  • Low-impact exercises like walking or swimming and stretching exercises like yoga or Pilates

Surgery is generally suggested for spondylosis when severe complications, such as bone spur formation, accompany arthritic changes or if nonsurgical therapies do not provide you with adequate relief. If pain from spondylosis is reducing your quality of life, contact Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive outpatient procedures provide a safer and effective alternative compared to traditional open neck or back surgery.^

Laser Spine Institute is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery and has helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck or back pain. Our board-certified surgeons+ use a less than 1-inch incision and muscle-sparing techniques in order to alleviate symptoms while resulting in less bleeding and a lower risk of complication compared to traditional open back surgery.^

Reach out to our dedicated team today and ask for a no-cost MRI review* to find out if you are a potential candidate for our decompression or stabilization procedures.