What is Spondylosis?

Spondylosis is something that can often be confusing to patients because spondylosis is not a medical condition. Spondylosis is a broad or “umbrella” term that is used by health professionals when talking about the degeneration of the spine. To understand spondylosis, it is necessary to discuss the most common conditions that fall under the spondylosis “umbrella”.

 

Condition #1: Osteoarthritis (OA) of the spine

Osteoarthritis of the spine is a very common condition, especially among older patients. The condition is characterized by the wearing away of the bones and soft tissues that make up the joints of the spine.

Osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body; however, osteoarthritis that affects the spine can be especially problematic. There are two reasons for this: (1) the spine has the very important job of supporting the body and helping it move (2) the spine protects the spinal cord. When osteoarthritis affects the spine, the vertebrae and soft tissues become damaged and diseased. Pain in the spine and/or extremities that are innervated by the spinal cord can result.

 

Condition #2: Spinal Stenosis

 An anatomically correct spine forms a structure known as the spinal canal which allows the spinal cord to travel freely from the brain to the lumbar (lower back) region of the spine. The condition known as spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal becomes narrow.

Spinal stenosis causes the spinal cord or nerve roots to be compressed. This causes pain in the spine and/or extremities. The lumbar region of the spine is most commonly affected by spinal stenosis.

Condition #3: Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD)

Soft rubbery pads known as intervertebral discs lie between the spinal vertebrae. The important job of the discs is to act as shock absorbers that reduce the load placed on the spine during weight-bearing activities.

Degenerative disc disease occurs when intervertebral discs lose water and nutritional content and begin to shrink. Degenerative disc disease can cause symptoms of pain and can cause a disc to herniate. A herniated disc can put pressure on the spinal cord and cause pain in the spine and/or extremities.

Treatment Options for Spondylosis

 Treatment options that are used to help improve the symptoms of the above-mentioned conditions include the following:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Physical therapy
  • Steroid injections
  • Minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS)

In most cases, a combination of treatment options is used to provide the ultimate symptom relief solution.  At Total Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, our Spine Team utilizes a multidisciplinary approach to treat back and neck pain and uses the most advanced treatment modalities.  We have 5 locations throughout Long Island, Brooklyn and the Bronx and  our team works hand in hand with a team of Orthopedic Spine Surgeons, Interventional Pain Management as well as Physical Therapists to develop unique treatment plans based on the lifestyles, habits and goals of each of our patients.

Contact us today to schedule a consult at one of our Long Island, Brooklyn or Bronx offices.  The road to overcoming pain starts when you walk through our doors.