While spondylosis may sound like a single condition, in reality it’s a term that describes spine degeneration and pain, which could stem from arthritis or degenerative disc disease.
At Western Orthopaedics, our team of orthopaedic experts specializes in spinal health and we understand the many degenerative conditions that can lead to spondylosis and, more importantly, how to treat them.
The many roads to spondylosis
Since spondylosis is more of a description than a condition, it shouldn’t be surprising that the numbers surrounding spondylosis are quite large. To illustrate this point, by the age of 60, 90% of people in the United States have some degree of cervical spondylosis.
There are several conditions that fall under spondylosis, including:
- Facet joint arthritis
- Bone spurs
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spinal stenosis
In most cases, spondylosis develops in areas of your spine that are most active, namely your cervical spine (neck) and lumbar spine (lower back). Since these regions of your spine enjoy the most movement, they’re also more susceptible to wear and tear.
The symptoms of spondylosis
Although spondylosis can be created by several different conditions, the symptoms are largely the same, such as:
- Symptoms that radiate down your arms or legs (radiculopathy)
- Popping or crackling noises in your spine when you move
- Muscle spasms
In the earlier stages of your spondylosis, you may only experience these symptoms occasionally, such as after engaging in physical activities. Since the underlying cause is degenerative, however, these symptoms may worsen and become more constant over time.
The first step in finding an appropriate treatment plan for your spondylosis is to determine the exact cause of the degeneration in your spine and subsequent pain. First, we review your symptoms and your medical history, and then we use advanced imaging to get a closer look at your spine.
Once we identify what we’re up against, we can better tailor your treatment plan. That said, in most cases, the treatments for the many conditions that lead to spondylosis are similar and include:
- Physical therapy
- Medications that address your pain
- Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight and becoming more active
- Epidural blocks
- Facet joint blocks
- Medial branch blocks
- Radiofrequency ablation
- Regenerative medicine
In severe cases, in which the degeneration in the spine is great, we may recommend a surgical solution, such as fusing two vertebrae together or removing and replacing an intervertebral disc.
Of course, our goal is to intervene long before you require surgical intervention, as there’s much we can do to slow, and even halt, the progression of your spondylosis.
If you’re experiencing pain in your spine that seems to be increasing with age, contact one of our two offices in Denver or Arvada, Colorado, to get on the road to relief.