Spondylosis, also known as spinal osteoarthritis, is a degenerative condition of the spine. What does that mean? It means that enough wear and tear has occurred in the spine that the actual structures of the spine are changing and often causing significant symptoms. The disc, which is a supportive structure, cushions the spine and is responsible for creating space for the nerves to properly exit the spine, begin thinning, and can bulge, protrude, or herniate as they weaken. The vertebrae remodel, or change shape as degeneration progresses. Calcification (calcium deposits) occurs, forming bone spurs. All of these changes are significant when we consider the fact that they can affect the nerve space and the nerves themselves. They can begin to compress or “pinch” the nerve roots and the nerves causing serious symptoms. Pain and stiffness develops, which can be mild, moderate, or severe. Numbness and tingling, weakness are common, not only around the spinal region, but to the body parts that those nerves supply (arms, legs, head—causing headaches)
What are the causes of spondylosis? Age is one factor. As we get older, wear and tear has its effects. But it affects younger people as well. Trauma, high impact sports, repeated heavy lifting, genetics, obesity, and overuse are all factors as well.
How do you treat spondylosis? A multi-disciplinary or integrated approach is best. Physical therapy, chiropractic, rehab therapy, massage therapy, anti –inflammatory medications, pain management injections can all be of benefit. Surgery is rarely indicated except in very severe cases. Alignment of the spine to take pressure off of the nerves and improve mobility of the spine will help as well as proper mobility exercises to regain flexibility, reduce stiffness, and improve posture. Medications and injections can give relief from pain and swelling. Massage therapy can reduce muscle spasm and tightness. This type of integrated approach is what we offer at Oahu Spine and Rehab. If you are suffering from pain, give us a call today at 488-5555!