Spondylosis treatment is geared toward thealleviation of the sometimes severe symptomsassociated with relatively minor and commonanatomical abnormalities within the spine.Spondylosis, which means “spine problem,” is ageneral term for the deterioration of spine’sjoints, intervertebral discs, and othercomponents of the spinal anatomy. Surgery isalmost always considered the last resort for thetreatment of spondylosis symptoms, but surgeryshould not be ruled out if a patient is unable tofind relief through conservative methods.
Spondylosis SymptomsLocalized pain and a reduction in range of motion are the two most tellingsymptoms of spondylosis. While spondylosis does not always lead tospinal nerve compression – which is potentially a much more painfulproblem – many of the degenerative spine conditions associated withspondylosis can threaten to infringe upon the spinal cord and/or its nerveroots. For example, bone spurs, or osteophytes, that grow too large or injust the right areas of the spine can “pinch,” or impinge, a spinal nerveroot. This can produce the set of symptoms known as radiculopathy,which might include: • Radiating pain • Tingling • Numbness • Muscle weakness
Spondylosis CausesBefore you can determine the best form of spondylosis treatment, it is important to understand its causes.Everyone can anticipate a certain amount of spinal deterioration, and most spine patients are middle-aged andelderly. Keep in mind that anatomical degeneration takes place at different rates for everyone, and someindividuals may be affected in their 30s and even in their 20s. For the most part, though, degenerative spineconditions are primarily diagnosed in people in their 50s and older.So, aging is considered the top risk factor for the development of spondylosis. Others include: • Obesity – Carrying extra body weight takes a serious toll on the components of the spinal anatomy. The lumbar (lower) spine, in particular, is susceptible to weight-related wear and tear, because the lower back bears most of the weight of the upper body. Extra weight places more stress on the facet joints and intervertebral discs. • Poor posture – Habitually slouching while seated or slumping your shoulders while standing can contribute to accelerated anatomical deterioration. • Repetitive stress – If your job or pastime requires repeated heavy lifting or sustained periods of sitting, the joints of the spine are forced to work even harder. In addition, the discs are subjected to constant pressure and/or repetitive movement, further contributing to the deterioration process. • Inherited traits – If one of your parents or grandparents had spinal osteoarthritis, it is believed that you have a better chance of developing the condition. The same can be said of other age-related spinal conditions, such as degenerative disc disease. • Tumors and traumatic injury – Spinal tumors (malignant or benign), while uncommon, can lead to symptoms similar to those produced by degenerative spine conditions. Traumatic injury, as in a car accident, might also disrupt the spinal anatomy.
Conservative Spondylosis TreatmentMost of the time, the symptoms listed earlier can be managed usingconservative spondylosis treatment. The goal is to achieve pain reliefnon-surgically, using one or more of the following methods:• Physical therapy• Over-the-counter or prescription pain medication• Brief periods of rest• Behavior modification• Hot/cold therapy• Massage• Epidural steroid injections• Alternative treatments such as chiropractic therapy, acupuncture, and yoga
Period of Trial and Error Might Be NecessaryBecause no two cases are exactly alike, it may take a while tosettle on the precise combination of conservative spondylosistreatment methods that provide meaningful relief. It isimportant for patients to stay in regular contact with thedoctor, reporting changes in symptoms as they occur. Thisapplies to changes for the better, as well as for the worse.Certainly, if symptoms seem to respond well to a particular setof treatment methods, the doctor will want to know. On theother hand, if symptoms do not respond well – or actually getworse – the doctor needs to know in order to makeadjustments to the treatment plan.