Man in green shirt with hurt back

​​​​​​​​​Spondylosis is a degenerative disease in which arthritis develops in the spine. This arthritis is usually the result of age-related wear and tear on the vertebral discs in the back and neck. Other causes are frequent overuse of the back, obesity and certain lifestyle habits such as smoking.

The arthritis (inflammation of the spinal joints) is painful in and of itself, however, it can also lead to bone spurs, which can pinch nerves and cause nerve-type pain.

Spondylosis symptoms

Spondylosis does not always cause symptoms, but if it does they can range from mild to severe and include:

  • Difficulty walking 

  • Loss of balance

  • Pain in the affected area of the spine

  • Sciatica 

  • Stiffness and limited range of motion, particularly after getting out of bed

  • Tingling in the arms and legs

  • Weakness

Spondylosis diagnosis

Spondylosis is diagnosed using one or more of the following tests:

  • CT scans—provides more detailed images of the bones in the spine. 

  • MRI scans—an imaging test that provides a detailed image of the spinal cord and surrounding nerves.

  • X-rays—an imaging test that shows abnormalities in the spine, such as bone spurs.

Spondylosis treatment 

Most forms of treatment for spondylosis are non-surgical and include: 

  • Epidural steroid injections—a procedure where a steroid medication is injected into the spinal area.

  • Exercise—to strengthen the muscles of the spine to prevent or relieve back pain. 

  • Facet joint injections—a procedure where pain medication is injected into the painful area. 

  • Anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication—medicines that relieve discomfort and decrease swelling and inflammation.

  • Physical therapy—exercises to strengthen the back, abdomen and buttocks muscles for added spinal support. 

Spondylosis rarely requires surgery. If surgery is needed, it is used to remove what is causing the pain and to stabilize the spine. At The Christ Hospital Health Network, we offer several surgical options, including:

  • Facetectomy—a surgery that removes a portion of the arthritic joint.

  • Foraminotomy—a procedure to relieve pressure on compressed nerves by enlarging the space around the vertebrae.

  • Laminectomy—an operation to remove all or part of the vertebral bone, relieving pressure on the nerves and spinal cord.

  • Laminotomy—this procedure removes a portion of the vertebral arch to reduce pressure in the vertebrae.

All of these surgical methods are sometimes accompanied by a spinal fusion to give stability to the spine. 

At The Christ Hospital Health Network, our spine specialists have the experience and skill to treat spondylosis and get you back on your feet.

Find a spondylosis specialist near you.