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Dorsal spondylosis: St. Elizabeth Healthcare – Spondylosis in the Thoracic Spine

St. Elizabeth Healthcare – Spondylosis in the Thoracic Spine

Spondylosis refers to the natural wear and tear that can happen in the spine. Also called spinal osteoarthritis, it can affect any region of the spine, including the cervical (neck) or lower back. This page discusses the symptoms, causes and treatment options for thoracic spondylosis, which affects the middle back (the area from below you neck to the top of your abdomen). 

What is spondylosis?

Natural changes in the spine, along with daily wear and tear, can cause spinal discs to lose their shape and size. (Spinal discs are the discs between the vertebrae that act as cushions, allowing your spine to move freely and easily throughout the day.) 

As these discs change, they may become smaller or shorter and reduce the space between the vertebra. This can cause pain, stiffness and inflammation in the back, making it more difficult to enjoy your favorite activities.

Aging is the most common cause of spondylosis. However, a spinal injury or a family history can also increase your risk of developing spondylosis.

What are symptoms of spondylosis?

Symptoms can vary greatly between individuals with spondylosis, and some may not experience any symptoms at all. Common symptoms may include:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Numbness or tingling 

How is spondylosis treated?

Most individuals with spondylosis respond well to conservative, non-surgical treatments. Your provider will work closely with you to determine the best approach to relieve your symptoms.

Pain management

The goal of pain management is to help improve symptoms and alleviate your discomfort. Your doctor may also discuss other pain relief options, including prescription medication, cortisone injections or nerve blocks. Closely follow your physician’s instructions and read all medication labels to ensure you are taking medicine safely and effectively.

Physical therapy 

Physical therapy for spondylosis can help strengthen your back and other parts of your body, and help you adapt every day activities to reduce painful symptoms. A therapist will work closely with you to develop exercises to do during therapy sessions and exercises you can do at home. 

Do I need surgery for spondylosis?

Most individuals respond well to non-surgical treatments. However, if your pain continues to interfere with daily activities, your doctor may discuss surgical procedures. There are many options available today, including minimally-invasive procedures, that can help reduce pain and recovery time.

How is spondylosis diagnosed?

Spondylosis is diagnosed with a physical examination by your provider. Your doctor will closely examine your spine and range of motion. You will be asked to move around and bend while your doctor studies the shape and movement of your spine.

Imaging tests, such as X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT) scan, may also be needed. This allows your doctor to check for other conditions, including herniated discs or bone spurs. Some insurances require other pre-requisites before ordering imaging service. Be sure to discuss these options with your provider. 

Contact Us

If you think you are experiencing spondylosis, schedule an appointment by calling (859) 212-7000 today.

The team at St. Elizabeth includes surgeons and specialists with unmatched experience in diagnosing and treating injuries, conditions and diseases that cause lumbar and sacral spine pain. Physicians and accredited providers offer their insight on how to best treat your back pain. Meet our non-surgical spine doctors. 

If you need surgery, our experienced affiliated surgeons will map out a plan that’s tailored to your health history, condition and symptoms. Meet our surgeons. 

Spondylosis symptoms, causes, diagnosis and more

As we get older, just about every part of our body will experience natural changes. And for many adults, neck and back problems are some of the not-so-fun parts of the aging process.

Spondylosis (or degenerative disc disease) is one of the most common spinal conditions adults experience. In fact, it’s estimated that around 85% of adults over the age of 60 have some degree of spondylosis.

But what is spondylosis exactly? What are the signs and symptoms of spondylosis? Is it treatable? And when should you see a doctor for any neck and back pain you might be experiencing? We answer all these questions and more.

What you should know about spondylosis

Spondylosis, or degenerative disc disease, is a form of arthritis that’s sometimes called spinal osteoarthritis. Spondylosis affects the discs in your spine, which can sometimes lead to neck pain, back pain or loss of normal spinal function.

Aging is the main cause of spondylosis

As you get older every part of your body changes, including vertebra (spinal bones) and spinal discs.

Spinal discs act as cushions between each of your neck and back’s vertebra –these discs are often described as rubbery or jelly-like. But as we age, these discs begin to dry out and thin. And that thinning places stress on every muscle, joint and ligament that holds your spine in place, which can lead to pain and decreased range of motion.

Over time, these spondylotic changes can sometimes lead to compression on one or more of the spinal nerve roots, bone spur growth or herniated discs, which may cause other symptoms.

Risk factors for spondylosis

Spondylosis is very common as you age, and you may not be able to avoid getting it. There are certain risk factors that can speed up the aging process or make you more likely to get spondylosis, including:

  • Being overweight – Extra weight can put added pressure on the structures of your spine, causing them to break down faster.
  • Genetic factors – People in certain families are more likely to experience spondylotic changes.
  • Smoking – People who smoke are more likely to get spondylosis – and when they do, their symptoms get worse more quickly.
  • A sedentary lifestyle – Sedentary behaviors are shown to increase the risk of lower back pain from spondylosis and other causes.
  • Repetitive stress – Having a job that requires repetitive movement that puts stress on your spine increases your chances of developing spondylosis.
  • Spinal injuries – If you’ve injured your spine in a car accident or a fall, you may be more likely to develop spondylosis.

The three types of spondylosis: Symptoms and locations

There are three different types of spondylosis. Each type is related to a specific area of your spine where the changes have occurred. These include the cervical (C), thoracic (T) and lumbar (L) regions.

Your spinal column is made up of 33 bones called vertebrae that, in part, consist of seven cervical (neck), 12 thoracic (mid back), and five lumbar (lower back) vertebrae. Between each vertebra is a disc.

The spinal column also has joints called facet joints. Their job is to connect the vertebrae and give them the flexibility to move against each other.

Spondylosis symptoms can vary from person to person. Some people may not even notice any neck or back pain or problems. While spondylosis can affect the joints anywhere along the spine, it occurs more commonly in the neck and low back.

What is cervical spondylosis?

Cervical spondylosis affects your neck, which is also called the cervical spine and represents vertebrae C1 to C7. These vertebrae connect your skull to your body and are responsible for motions like turning your head left and right, or nodding your head up and down.

Cervical spondylosis symptoms

Your neck has a big job to do. It supports the weight of your head and a wide range of movements. While many people don’t experience any symptoms of cervical spondylosis, those that do may feel:

  • Neck pain, which can feel like a constant ache, get worse when you move or both (pain may also spread to your arms or shoulders)
  • Neck stiffness that can get worse over time
  • Muscle pain or spasms
  • Headaches, especially in the back of your head
  • A grinding, clicking or popping feeling when you move your neck
Is cervical spondylosis serious?

Most of the time, cervical spondylosis isn’t serious. But in some cases, cervical spondylosis can lead to the narrowing of the spinal canal, which is where the spinal cord and nerves pass through. If the cord or nerves become compressed (or pinched), you may experience the following symptoms and should see a doctor as soon as possible:

  • Numbness, tingling or shooting pain in your shoulders, arms or hands, or what can feel like an electrical sensation when you flex your neck forward
  • Difficulty walking or lack of coordination
  • Loss of bladder and bowel control (rare)

What is thoracic spondylosis?

Your thoracic spine, T1 through T12, picks up where your cervical spine leaves off. It continues to protect your spinal cord, and also connects to and supports your rib cage.

As the “trunk” or middle part of your back, these 12 vertebrae are stable and sturdy. As a result, thoracic spondylosis is the least common type of degenerative disc disease.

Thoracic spondylosis symptoms

Most people do not experience any symptoms. But if symptoms are present, they may include:

  • Stiffness or soreness in the middle-back
  • Pain in the chest and upper abdomen
  • Pain radiating down the back or legs
  • Weakness or tingling in the arms or legs
  • Increased pain with activity
Is thoracic spondylosis serious?

Thoracic spondylosis is not usually serious, but it can worsen over time without treatment. Sometimes more serious symptoms can develop. If you experience sudden loss of motor control or walking becomes difficult, get medical care immediately.

What is lumbar spondylosis?

Lumbar spondylosis impacts your lower spine, L1 through L5. More specifically, the lumbar region is the section of the vertebrae between the thoracic spine and the sacrum. It’s the part of the spinal column that supports and distributes most of your body’s weight, making lumbar spondylosis perhaps the most common spinal osteoarthritis condition. In fact, more than 80% of those in the U. S. over the age of 40 may have lumbar spondylosis.

Lumbar spondylosis symptoms

Many people with lumbar spondylosis, don’t have any symptoms or feel pain. But some people experience symptoms such as:

  • Low back pain, which can feel like constant soreness, flare up when you move, or both (back pain may also be worse in the morning and get better throughout the day)
  • Back stiffness
  • Weakness in the legs or feet
  • Muscle pain or spasms
  • Grinding, clicking or popping sensation when you sit, stand or move in a certain way
  • Bladder retention (inability to urinate)

Like with cervical spondylosis, changes in spinal discs in the lumbar region can lead to nerve or cord compression. Disc herniation, which is when a disc slips or bulges through a weakened part of the spine is also a possibility. Herniated discs are most common in the lower back and are also more common as we get older.

Is lumbar spondylosis serious?

While lumbar spondylosis usually isn’t serious, you should see a doctor right away if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Numbness, tingling or pain that radiates from your back to your buttocks, legs, feet or toes (sciatica)
  • Changes in how you walk (gait) or difficulty walking
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control (rare)

Spondylosis vs.

spondylolysis: What’s the difference?

These two terms may look and sound almost identical, but there are key features that make the conditions different. While they can both cause back pain, spondylosis refers to the normal changes that can occur as we age. Spondylolysis is actually a stress fracture that occurs in a portion of the spine called the “pars”, and commonly caused by overuse.

How spondylosis is diagnosed

If you’re experiencing any spondylosis symptoms, you may be able to skip a trip to your primary care doctor and go straight to making an appointment with a physical therapist. Physical therapy is usually covered, but it’s always a good idea to check with your insurance provider to understand your coverage.

During your first visit, your physical therapist will likely start with a physical exam that may include:

  • Asking you questions about the location and severity of any pain, stiffness or other symptoms you’re experiencing
  • Evaluating your range of motion by having you move, bend or twist in different ways
  • Testing for muscle weakness in your arms and legs
  • Feeling along your spine to help detect any tenderness, or possible muscle spasms, bumps or areas of inflammation

In some cases, your therapist may recommend tests like X-rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that allow them to take a closer look at your spine.

Treatments for spondylosis

Yes. For most people, spondylosis symptoms can be managed with at-home treatments such as over-the-counter pain relievers, hot and cold therapy, and some lifestyle modifications.

Depending on your condition, a spine specialist may also recommend pain psychology, acupuncture or injections for longer-term, yet still temporary, pain relief. And if spondylosis has led to nerve or spinal cord compression, surgery may be helpful to relieve the pressure.

But stretching and activity may be the most important step for managing pain or other spondylosis symptoms. That’s because movement is important for keeping all of your body’s muscles, ligaments and joints in working order. And working with a spine physical therapist can help.

Spine physical therapists can teach you targeted stretches and exercises to strengthen your neck and back to reduce spondylosis-related pain and stiffness. Depending on several factors, including how long you’ve been experiencing neck or back pain, a more intensive physical therapy program like TRIA Neck and Back Strengthening Program may be recommended. A spine strengthening program is specifically designed for people with chronic back pain.

Learn more about spondylosis treatments and exercises.

Take the first step toward neck and back pain relief

While you can’t stop your body from aging, there are steps you can take to manage the neck and back pain that can come with it.

If you’ve recently started noticing regular neck or back pain and stiffness, and it doesn’t seem to be subsiding, a great first step can be making an appointment with a spine physical therapist. At TRIA, our physical therapy programs don’t require a doctor’s referral, but it’s a good idea to check with your insurance company to understand your coverage.

Deforming spondylosis – treatment, symptoms, causes, diagnosis

The term deforming spondylosis has Latin roots (spondyl means the spine, and osis – disorders) and the term reflects the presence of problems in the spine. Currently, this term refers to degenerative changes in the joints of the spine (osteoarthritis or osteoarthritis) and, like osteochondrosis, spondylosis is an involutionary process in the spine. As the body ages, the structures of the spine wear out, especially the joints, ligaments, and intervertebral discs.

However, the aging of the organism is a purely individual process. Just as some people start going gray earlier, the development of spondylosis also appears earlier in some people. In fact, some people may not experience pain at all. It all depends on how part of the spine has undergone degeneration, and how these changes affect the spinal cord or spinal roots.

Deforming spondylosis can develop in all parts of the spine (cervical thoracic and lumbar) and, depending on the localization of degenerative changes in spondylosis, there will be corresponding symptoms. Spondylosis ( spondylosis deformans ) is often referred to as osteoarthritis or osteoarthritis of the spine.

Deforming spondylosis is a degenerative process that goes in parallel with osteochondrosis and degenerative changes occur in the following structures of the spine.

Intervertebral discs . As people age, certain biochemical changes occur that affect tissues throughout the body. There are also changes in the structure of the intervertebral discs (in the annulus fibrosus, in the nucleus pulposus). The annulus fibrosus consists of 60 or more concentric bands of collagen fibers. The nucleus pulposus is a jelly-like substance inside the intervertebral disc, surrounded by the annulus fibrosus. The core consists of water, collagen fibers and proteoglycans. Degenerative involutional changes can weaken these structures, causing the annulus to wear out or tear. The water content in the core decreases with age, which affects the depreciation properties of the intervertebral disc. The result of structural changes in disc degeneration may be a decrease in the height of the intervertebral disc and an increased risk of disc herniation.

Facet joints (or zygapophyseal joints) . Each vertebral body has four facet joints that work like hinges. This allows the spine to flex, extend, and rotate. Like other joints, facet joints are covered with cartilage. Cartilage is a special type of connective tissue that is provided with lubrication and a good sliding surface. With degenerative changes in the facet joints, cartilage tissue disappears and osteophytes form. These changes can lead to joint hypertrophy (osteoarthritis, osteoarthritis).

Bones and ligaments . Osteophytes can form near the end of the vertebral plates, which can lead to impaired blood supply to the vertebra. In addition, the end plates may thicken due to sclerotic phenomena; thickening or thickening of the bones under the end plates. Ligaments are bands of fibrous tissue that connect the vertebrae and they protect the spine from excessive movement such as hyperextension. Degenerative changes cause the ligaments to lose their strength. Changes to, for example, the yellow ligament can lead to hardening and thickening of the ligament, which in turn can lead to an effect on the dura mater.

Symptoms in spondylosis of various parts

Spondylosis of the cervical region. The complex anatomical structure of the cervical spine and the wide range of motion make this spine very prone to degenerative disorders. Pain in the neck with spondylosis in this department is common. The pain may radiate to the shoulder or down the arm. When osteophytes cause compression of the nerve roots that innervate the limbs, in addition to pain, weakness in the upper limbs may also appear. In rare cases, bone spurs (osteophytes) that form in the front of the cervical spine can lead to difficulty swallowing (dysphagia).

When spondylosis is localized in the thoracic spine, pain due to degenerative changes (spondylosis) often appears with forward flexion and hyperextension. Flexion causes faceted pain.

Lumbar spondylosis is common in people over 40 years of age. The most common complaints are back pain and morning stiffness. Changes, as a rule, take place in several motor segments. The lumbar spine bears most of the weight of the body. Therefore, when degenerative changes compromise structural integrity, symptoms, including pain, may accompany any physical activity. Movement stimulates pain fibers in the annulus and joints. Sitting for long periods of time can lead to pain and other symptoms due to pressure on the lumbar vertebrae. Repetitive movements such as lifting weights and bending over can increase pain.

Symptoms of spondylosis can range from mild to severe and become chronic or even crippling. These may include:

  • Cervical region
    • Pain that comes and goes
    • Pain that radiates to the shoulders, arms, hands, fingers
    • Morning stiffness in the neck or shoulder or limited range of motion upon waking
    • Neck or shoulder soreness or numbness
    • Weakness or tingling in the neck, shoulders, arms, hands, fingers
    • Headache in the occipital region
    • Unbalance
    • Difficulty swallowing
  • Thoracic spine
    • Upper and middle back pain
    • Pain occurs when bending and straightening the trunk
    • Morning stiffness in the back after waking up
  • Lumbar Spine
    • Pain that comes and goes
    • Morning stiffness in lower back after getting out of bed
    • Pain that improves with rest or after exercise
    • Pain in the lower back or numbness
    • Ischialgia (moderate to severe pain in the legs)
    • Weakness, numbness or tingling in the lower back, legs or feet
    • Walking disorder
    • Impaired bowel or bladder function (these symptoms are rare, but possible with compression of the cauda equina).

Causes of spondylosis deformans

Body aging is the main cause of spondylosis. The body is subjected to daily stress for many years, and over time, changes occur in various structures of the spine. Before symptoms such as pain and stiffness appear, degeneration of the spinal structures occurs. Spondylosis is a cascade process: one anatomical change leads to another, resulting in changes in the structure of the spine. These changes together cause spondylosis and the corresponding symptoms.

As a rule, degenerative changes begin in the intervertebral discs first. For this reason, patients with spondylosis often also have osteochondrosis. The consequences of these degenerative changes in the spine are closely related.

Changes begin in the discs, but eventually the aging process also affects other parts of the motor segments of the spine. Over time, the collagen that makes up the annulus begins to change. In addition, the water content in the disk is reduced. These changes reduce the cushioning functions of the disk and the ability to absorb load vectors. With degeneration, the disc becomes thinner and denser, which already leads to changes in the joints, which take part of the load of the disc on themselves, providing stabilization of the spine. When the disc becomes thinner, the cartilage of the joints begins to wear out faster, the mobility of the spine increases, and conditions arise for irritation of the nerve roots located nearby. This hypermobility, in turn, causes a compensatory reaction of the body in the form of excessive growth of bone tissue in the area of ​​the joints (osteophytes). Osteophytes with sufficient magnification can have a compressive effect on the roots of the spinal cord and cause a corresponding clinical picture. Osteophytes can also cause spinal stenosis. As a rule, the cause of stenosis of the spinal canal is not osteochondrosis, but spondylosis.

In the development of spondylosis, to a certain extent, genetic determinism plays a role. Also, bad habits, such as smoking, have a certain influence.


It is not always easy to determine that spondylosis is the cause of back pain because spondylosis can develop gradually as a result of body aging, and pain can also be due to another degenerative condition such as osteochondrosis. First of all, a neurologist is interested in answers to the following questions:

  • Beginning of pain manifestations
  • Activities that preceded the onset of pain
  • What measures were taken to relieve pain
  • Presence of irradiation of pain
  • Pain aggravating or pain relieving factors

The neurologist will also perform a physical examination and examine the patient’s neurological status (posture, range of motion in the spine, presence of muscle spasm). In addition, the neurologist should also examine the joints (hip joints, sacroiliac joints), as the joints can also be a source of back pain. During a neurological examination, a neurologist will check tendon reflexes, muscle strength, and the presence of sensory disturbances.

Verification of the diagnosis also requires instrumental methods, such as radiography, MRI or CT, which allow visualization of changes in the spine. Radiography well reflects changes in bone tissues and allows you to visualize the presence of bone growths (osteophytes). But for a more accurate diagnosis, methods such as CT or MRI are preferable, which also visualize soft tissues (ligaments, discs, nerves). In some cases, it is possible to use scintigraphy, especially if it is necessary to differentiate oncological processes or infectious (inflammatory) foci.

In the presence of damage to the nerve fibers, the doctor may prescribe ENMG, which allows you to determine the degree of conduction disturbance along the nerve fiber and determine both the degree of damage and the level of damage. Based on the totality of clinical data and the results of instrumental methods, the examination by a neurologist can make a clinical diagnosis of spondylosis and determine the necessary treatment tactics.


In most cases, the course of spondylosis is quite slow and requires almost no treatment. With the active course of spondylosis, treatment is required, which can be both conservative and, in some cases, surgical. Most often, spondylosis requires conservative treatment. Various therapies are used to treat spondylosis.

Acupuncture . This treatment method can reduce back and neck pain. Needles that are inserted at specific points can also be stimulated both mechanically and electrically. In addition, acupuncture increases the production of its own painkillers (endorphins).

Bed rest. In severe cases, severe pain may require bed rest for no more than 1-3 days. Prolonged bed rest increases the risk of developing complications such as deep vein thrombosis and back muscle wasting.

Traction therapy . In most cases, spinal traction is rarely needed or used to relieve symptoms associated with spondylosis.

Manual therapy . Manipulations of a chiropractor using various techniques can increase the mobility of motor segments and remove muscle blocks.

Medical treatment . Drugs for the treatment of spondylosis are mainly used to relieve pain. These are drugs such as NSAIDs. In addition, muscle relaxants can be used if there are signs of muscle spasm. Tranquilizers can also be used to relax muscle spasm, which can also improve sleep. Opioids are used in the treatment of pain only occasionally, with severe pain manifestations. Any drug treatment should be carried out only as prescribed by the attending physician, since almost all drugs have a number of side effects and have certain contraindications.

Epidural steroid injections are sometimes used for pain syndromes and can relieve pain, especially when there is swelling and inflammation in the spinal roots. Typically, the steroid is administered in combination with a local anesthetic. The effect of such injections is usually limited to 2-3 days, but this allows you to remove the pathological process and connect other methods of treatment.

Facet joint injections are also used in the treatment of spondylosis and improve the mobility of the facet joints, reduce pain associated with arthrosis of the facet joints.

LFC . This treatment method is one of the most effective treatments for spondylosis. Dosed physical activity allows you to restore the normal muscle corset, reduce pain, increase the stability of the spine, improve the condition of the ligamentous apparatus and stop the progression of degenerative processes in the spine. As a rule, exercise therapy is prescribed after the relief of acute pain.

Physiotherapy . Modern methods of physiotherapy (for example, HILT therapy, SWT therapy, electrical stimulation, cryotherapy) can not only reduce pain manifestations, but also influence the development of degenerative processes in the spine to a certain extent.

Corsetting . The use of corsets in spondylosis is possible for a short period of time, since prolonged use of the corset can lead to atrophy of the back muscles.

Lifestyle change. Losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, regular exercise, and smoking cessation can help treat spondylosis at any age.


Only a small percentage of spondylosis cases require surgery. Surgical methods of treatment are mainly necessary in the presence of persistent, resistant to conservative treatment of neurological symptoms (weakness in the limbs, dysfunction of the bladder, intestines, or other manifestations of compression effects on the spinal cord and roots). Surgical treatment consists in decompression of the nerve structures (for example, removal of osteophytes that have a compressive effect on the nerve structures). Depending on the extent of the operation, spinal fusion may be performed to stabilize the vertebrae. Currently, minimally invasive methods of surgical treatment are widely used, which allows you to quickly restore the function of the spine and normalize the quality of life.

symptoms, causes, diagnosis, prevention and treatment

Spondylosis is a chronic disease that, without timely treatment, can lead to limited mobility and dysfunction of internal organs. At an early stage, it is usually asymptomatic, so a person does not go to the doctor for a long time. The sooner the treatment of pathology is started, the easier it will be to slow down its development and avoid complications.

  • What is spondylosis
  • Causes of the disease
  • Symptoms of the disease
  • Classification of spondylosis
  • Grades of spondylosis
  • Diagnosis of spondylosis
  • Treatment of spondylosis

900 30 What is spondylosis

Spondylosis is a degenerative chronic disease of the spine resulting from aging, overuse and injury spinal column. In this case, the vertebrae are fixed and compacted, which is due to degenerative-dystrophic disorders in them and in the intervertebral discs.

With deforming spondylosis of the lumbar or other part of the spine, the bone tissue grows and osteophytes form. Over time, this can lead to fusion of the vertebrae with a significant limitation of spinal mobility and disability of the patient.

Early symptoms of spondylosis can appear at a young age – from twenty to thirty years. As a rule, in this period, the clinical manifestations of the disease are not too pronounced and do not interfere with normal life. The statistics are such that by the age of fifty, both sexes equally turn to doctors about the progression of spondylosis.

Causes of the development of the disease

Spinal spondylosis develops for various reasons. Most often provoking factors are:

  • traumatic injuries of the spine;
  • diseases accompanied by spinal deformity;
  • osteochondrosis;
  • sedentary lifestyle;
  • prolonged hypothermia of the body, in which the blood supply to the spinal column is disturbed;
  • heavy loads on the spine by profession;
  • bone changes due to aging;
  • metabolic disorders.

Regardless of what factor provoked spondylosis, you need to see a doctor. He will conduct a detailed diagnosis and prescribe treatment.

If the problem is ignored, the pathology will progress, which over time will lead to the development of complications that limit the mobility of a person.

Symptoms of the disease

The clinical picture of spondylosis depends on its type. At the initial stage of the development of pathology, its signs are almost invisible and can mimic the symptoms of other diseases. Gradually manifestations become significant and begin to influence a person’s life.

The main symptom of spondylosis is pain in the spine. Depending on the nature of the pathology and the degree of pinching of the nerve roots, they can be expressed in different ways. Other signs of the disease are:

  • inability to fully move due to back pain;
  • reduced cushioning when walking;
  • crunch in the back, neck;
  • severe headaches;
  • severe dizziness;
  • decreased visual acuity;
  • paresthesia of limbs;
  • tinnitus;
  • violation of posture, curvature of the spinal column;
  • deterioration in performance.

In the absence of correct and timely treatment, the spinal column becomes completely ossified, which leads to the loss of the ability to move normally. A person cannot fully work and gets a disability.

Classification of spondylosis

There are several types of the disease. Classification is carried out according to the localization of violations.

Thoracic spondylosis

Pathology usually occurs due to injuries of the spine, insufficient calcium content in the body, congenital anomalies and age-related changes in the spinal column. It often provokes the development of cardiopathy, accompanied by severe pain in the region of the heart, respiratory disorders, muscle spasms and numbness of the extremities.

In the early stages, such spondylosis resolves without an obvious clinical picture. Usually the patient does not go to the doctor for a long time, as nothing bothers him. As the disease progresses, pain appears, and the range of motion in the thoracic segment of the spine also decreases.

Spondylosis of the sacral spine

This pathology is the most common among similar degenerative-dystrophic diseases. She is characterized by pain in the lumbar region (lumbar ischalgia), numbness in various parts of the legs.

A characteristic sign of spondylosis of the lumbosacral region is a decrease in pain in the “embryo” position, as well as when bending forward. The patient is also troubled by the following symptoms:

  • feeling of stiffness in the lower extremities and lower back in the morning;
  • lameness that gradually becomes permanent.

The sacrum is involved in the process already in advanced cases. In the later stages, the patient complains of constant “dull” pain in the lumbar region.

Cervical spondylosis

Pathology is quite common. In this case, degeneration of the cervical vertebrae and the formation of osteophytes occur. As a result, radiculopathy develops with its further consequences.

A sign of cervical spondylosis is spastic paresis in the extremities due to compression of the vertebrae. If violations are preceded by trauma, then the spinal cord is often affected. Due to paresis of the limbs, tissue atrophy occurs, which leads to their thinning and disability of the patient.

Lumbar spondylosis

In most cases, the pathology is due to the aging of the body, but sometimes it occurs in young people due to gross violations of posture. It may be asymptomatic and discovered incidentally on X-ray, MRI, or CT. Some patients experience pain, limited movement.

Degrees of spondylosis

The disease proceeds in a chronic form. In this case, the vertebrae are gradually deformed, changing their boundaries, narrowing the spinal canal. Bone tissue grows, osteophytes are formed. In a small number of patients, the vertebrae fuse, which adversely affects the nerves, organs, muscle tissue and blood vessels.

Pathology goes through three stages of development:

  • First stage. There are no symptoms of the disease. On the vertebrae there are small processes.
  • Second stage. Osteophytes proliferate. With strong physical exertion and hypothermia, aching pains occur. There is stiffness of movement.
  • Third stage. The vertebrae are fused, which leads to limited mobility of the spine. Severe pain occurs, muscle tone increases.

Diagnosis of spondylosis

Before prescribing treatment to the patient, the doctor recommends additional examinations. This is necessary to determine whether we are really talking about spondylosis, as well as to identify the severity of the disease. There are the following diagnostic methods:

  1. X-ray of the spine. Allows you to detect osteophytes and thickening of the joints.
  2. ct. It is carried out to establish the narrowing of the spinal canal, as well as to determine the height of the intervertebral fissures.
  3. MRI. It is considered the most informative method of examination of the spine. Allows you to establish the causes of the pathology, as well as determine whether the nerves were pinched, the vertebrae were compressed, etc.

Comprehensive diagnostics helps to make a correct diagnosis, determine the stage of development of the pathology, as well as identify complications.

Treatment of spondylosis

Unfortunately, there are no methods that help to completely cope with the pathology. Therefore, therapy is aimed at mitigating the signs of the disease and preventing complications.

The treatment is chosen by the doctor, depending on the severity, the characteristics of the course of the pathology, and only after examinations.

Therapy uses drugs that eliminate the main symptoms of the disease.

The specialist may prescribe the following drugs:

  • non-narcotic analgesics for pain control;
  • NSAIDs that eliminate inflammation and swelling of tissues, reduce pain and improve mobility of the articular-motor system;
  • chondroprotectors for the prevention of cartilage destruction;
  • muscle relaxants that eliminate muscle spasm and reduce pain caused by pinched nerve roots;
  • narcotic analgesics – in extreme cases, when non-narcotic drugs do not relieve severe pain in the spine.

If the inflammatory process is very pronounced, then NSAIDs are used, as well as physiotherapy (ultrasound, electrophoresis with an analgesic, dynamic currents). The doctor may prescribe analgesics for intramuscular injection, as well as paravertebral blocks.

These treatments relieve the signs of spondylosis, but do not stop its development. The main ways to slow down the progression of the disease are physiotherapy exercises (exercise therapy) and massage.

Exercises are performed only after the pain syndrome has been eliminated. Regular exercise stimulates the blood supply to the muscles and the spinal column, and also helps to reduce the load on the spine by forming a muscular corset. Exercise therapy contributes to the development of motor stereotypes that help prevent overload of the affected part of the spine.

Massage helps to increase blood flow to certain areas, as well as reduce muscle tension and improve mobility. With spondylosis, intensive massage is not carried out, as well as spinal traction and manual therapy.

In the treatment of pathology, physiotherapy is used to relieve pain, relieve swelling of soft tissues, and normalize local blood supply.

For the treatment of spondylosis of the lumbar spine, or another part of it, the doctor may prescribe acupuncture. It helps to reduce pain and improve the passage of impulses along the nerve fibers.

If conservative treatments fail, surgery is usually performed. Other indications for surgery:

  • severe spinal stenosis;
  • severe nerve root compression;
  • large intervertebral hernia;
  • significant malfunction of the internal organs due to spondylosis;
  • violations of control over the function of the pelvic organs;
  • paresis of the limbs.

In these cases, based on the cause of spondylosis, the following surgical interventions can be performed: laminectomy, arthroplasty, microdiscectomy, autotransplantation.

Spondylosis is a chronic disease that cannot be completely eliminated.