Spondylosis, in simple terms is a degeneration of the spine caused by numerous and varied factors. How the different types of spondylosis affects each area is a common inquiry online.
Diagnosis of spondylosis is often elusive since evidence of it does not show up on typical x-rays. It is, however, common and like many spine conditions preventable or improvable to a great degree. It can begin and progress at any age, but like many degenerative conditions it is more likely to affect older people. It is commonly noticed in people in their forties and above.
Most common types of spondylosis
For practical purposes of this site, which is to help people get moving and restore function to their body, I have included information about the two most common types of spondylosis. The cervical and lumbar areas are those most commonly affecting patients’ quality of life. Spondylosis symptoms in these two areas are the most pronounced.
Cervical Spondylosis – Starting With The Neck
As mentioned above this is degeneration of the vertebrae in the neck. Cervical Spondylosis narrows the spinal canal of the neck. This is the passageway that the spinal cord runs through. This narrowing causes compression of the spinal nerves causing pain and in many cases dysfunction.
The symptoms may reflect spinal cord or nerve root damage. When the spinal cord is damaged or impinged, a change in walking posture and pace is often the first sign. The neck may become very painful, especially when the nerve roots are affected.
Numbness and weakness may develop in one of both arms which is another sign of spinal cord compression.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Cervical Spondylosis
When a doctor suspects cervical spondylosis a special MRI is helpful in showing where the spinal canal narrows in the neck. The degree of compression and distribution of nerve roots are also important ddeterminations.
Spinal malformation from this condition may improve or stabilize without treatment or it can progress. Doctors may prescribe anything from neck manipulation to prescription analgesics or muscle relaxants. Any combination of these may be possible. This is to provide relief while determining the extent of the condition and determining whether more intensive treatment is necessary.
Consider Heal-N-Soothe for pain relief and prevention rather than long term prescription pain medication. It has provided a safe, healthy alternative for tens of thousands back pain patients.
In cases where MRI imaging shows clearly severe narrowing and spinal cord compression, surgery may be medically recommended.
To be clear, surgery for cervical spondylosis is not generally to affect changes that have already taken place. It is to prevent further progression of the condition.
As with many conditions listed on this site, this may be improved or reversed by conservative treatment including exercise. It may largely be prevented as we age. Finally, it may progress to a stage where it is so severe, surgery is the only option.
Lumbar Spondylosis – Lower Back Degeneration Of The Spinal Canal
In spondylosis of the lower back or lumbar region, the result is a pronounced movement of vertebrae moving unnaturally against others. With all upper body weight bearing down on this area, the degeneration of the spine as described above allows this with greater effect.
The common resultant symptom is pain in the lower back and pain radiating down one or both legs. Lower back pain is primarily the cause of gradually malformed vertebrae rubbing against each other incorrectly. Pain, numbness and weakness in the legs is caused by pressure on the nerves.
Interestingly, with this condition a MRI typically taken with the patient lying down, may show nothing, because the condition in this area does not show in a prone position. For clarity of lumbar spondylosis in an MRI it must be taken with the patient standing up, bending forward and leaning back.
This allows the MRI to clearly image how the spinal vertebrae are interacting and what effect they are having on the spinal canal and nerves.
Medical diagnosis and treatment run the same or similar course to those described in cervical spondylosis. The prognosis is dependent, just like in other areas, on the progression of the condition and the age and general health of the patient.
Prevention of Spondylosis Is Always The Best “Treatment”
This is a website, not with a purpose of medical treatment. It is about prevention being primary, self management and recovery being second best, and everything else being undesirable consequences.
Prevention or long term avoidance of any symptoms of spondylosis are the best option. What that means is a healthy lifestyle, full body calisthenic and resistance exercise, aerobic exercise, flexibility work, and a strategic diet all play into preventing conditions like this.
That said, prevention doesn’t start in your 60s. That’s when if you’re very fortunate you can produce “successful management” of these type conditions. Prevention starts in your 30s where you develop a healthy lifestyle that looks at a lifelong endeavor.
If you look through this website you’ll find exercises demonstrated for other conditions, and the full body workout for long term joint health. You can implement these in your workouts now for prevention or long term delay of conditions like spondylosis.
For people who are not advanced in age and in good health, putting a creative, enjoyable fitness lifestyle in place now is some of your best insurance for quality of life at any age.
How To Regard Physical Therapy For Spondylosis
If this condition has already shown up, been medically identified, your doctor may recommend a period of physical therapy. The progression and severity of your symptoms will determine whether is inpatient at a clinic or hospital, or outpatient where you can come and go daily.
Whichever is recommended treat your physical therapy like your life depends on it. Beating the effects of spondylosis and its symptoms will determine the conditions of how you live.
Physical therapists single goal in life and work is to get you up, moving, improved. Treat them like angels, not enemies. Work with them cooperatively even if it seems like they are sadistically trying to torment you.
They are not. They are getting you going so you can live life like you want it.
Physical therapy for spondylosis, if you work at it, will get you up and functioning. But therapists are not with you for life. Once they get you to a certain point, you are on your own.
At that point, make self therapy a disciplined way of life.
You many just find out that even though your condition may have progressed initially, you can live out many more years with it under control and living life on your terms.