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Arthritis of the Spine (Spondylosis)


Spondylosis is a term interchangeably used with the term degenerative joint disease as well as osteoarthritis and is also known as spinal arthritis which is very commonly known to cause tenderness, joint stiffness, swelling and pain. The pain typically is worse in the morning and gets better once the person moves around, pain can get worse at the end of the day and may feel better with rest. Spondylosis can affect entire spine which included neck (cervical), mid back (thoracic), lower back (lumbar) and/or low back-sacrum (lumbosacral).

Spondylosis Cause:

There is inflammation which in turn causes pain and loss of motion due to the irritated nerves due to the stenosis and bone spurs (osteophytes) that do pinch a spinal nerve root. Spondylosis does worsen as the person ages which is aggravated with daily wear and tear and the discs tend to degenerate and lose their size and height. There is a part that a person’s genetics or prior injury have a role in spondylosis and x-rays show spondylosis in more than 80% of individuals that are older than 40 years. X-rays will show bone spurs and disc will have height loss and there may be a need to order CT scan or MRI in order to observe the degenerative changes as well as changes in the soft tissues.

Spondylosis Treatment:

When pain is very bothersome need to rest, use medications such as anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs), muscle relaxants, chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy which can include ice/heat, massage and/or ultrasound as well as cortisone injections. Stretching and strengthening exercises are beneficial in order to improve flexibility and to improve strength.

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