Cervical & Lumbar Spondylosis

When the space between two adjacent vertebrae narrows, compression of a nerve root emerging from the spinal cord may result in radiculopathy (sensory and motor disturbances, such as severe pain in the neck, shoulder, arm, back, or leg, accompanied by muscle weakness) and tingling/ numbness in arms or legs. Less commonly, direct pressure on the spinal cord (typically in the cervical spine) may result in myelopathy, characterized by global weakness, gait dysfunction, loss of balance, and loss of bowel or bladder control. The patient may experience shocks (paresthesia) in hands and legs because of nerve compression and lack of blood flow. If vertebrae of the neck are involved it is labelled cervical spondylosis. Lower back spondylosis is labeled lumbar spondylosis.

Spondylosis is caused from years of constant abnormal pressure, from joint subluxation, sports, or poor posture, being placed on the vertebrae, and the discs between them. The abnormal stress causes the body to form new bone in order to compensate for the new weight distribution. This abnormal weight bearing from bone displacement will cause spondylosis to occur. Poor postures and loss of the normal spinal curves can lead to spondylosis as well. Spondylosis can affect a person at any age; however, older people are more susceptible.

In contrast to common belief that spondylosis can’t be treated or cured, most patients responds to medicines and life style changes. Treatment is usually conservative in nature. Patient education on lifestyle modifications, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and other neurological medicines (nerve stabilizers) and physical therapy care are common forms of manual care that help manage such conditions. Other alternative therapies such as massage, trigger-point therapy, yoga and acupuncture may be of limited benefit. Surgery is occasionally performed.