Spotting the Sneaky Symptoms of Spondylosis

If you don’t know what spondylosis is, you’re not alone. If you have been diagnosed with this spinal condition, you know that it can be a very painful thing to live with. Spondylosis may begin as a small ache that gets worse and worse and worse. Fortunately, numerous modern treatments options are available. Keep reading to learn more about this condition and the treatment options available.

What is spondylosis?

In the most general of terms, spondylosis is a relatively common form of spinal degeneration. It is thought to be caused by osteoarthritis. It typically appears in older patients, but can be a problem for younger people, especially those who have put their bodies through repetitive stress or suffered injury or trauma.

Spondylosis occurs when the cushioning discs between spinal vertebrae can no longer absorb shock as they are meant to do. It may cause the bones of the spine to bear more of a direct load than they comfortably can. When this happens, the spinal vertebrae may become brittle. Bone spurs are commonly present, as are bulging or herniated discs that cause severe back pain. Bladder control and bowel control issues may be present — read this from about spondylosis. Strange sensations in the shoulders, arms, legs and feet have also been reported with spondylosis.

Spondylosis symptoms are not the same for everyone and may include numbness, tingling and weakness. Cervical spondylosis may cause moderate to severe neck pain, headaches and tingling feelings in the hands, fingers and arms. Lumbar spondylosis presents lower back pain and may cause pain in the lower extremities, as well. Morning stiffness is common. Difficulty walking, muscle spasms, and loss of balance may occur in both forms.

Who gets spondylosis?

In truth, almost anyone who lives long enough is likely to wind up with at least a mild form of spondylosis. Walking upright for a lifetime is the most common cause of spinal degeneration caused by arthritis. The condition is typically diagnosed by x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, and/or computed tomography, or CT scan. X-rays may reveal bone loss in spinal discs, whereas CT and MRI are used to examine the soft tissues of the spinal cord, vertebrae, back muscles and spinal nerves. X-rays can show a progressive decrease in the space between vertebrae, calcium deposits, bone spurs and other signs of degenerative inflammation.

What can be done about spondylosis?

You might have mild spondylosis and not even know it. If you do feel discomfort or even downright pain, you may avail yourself of a number of treatment options. Medically, it may be treated with over the counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS, such as Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen and Naproxen. Muscle relaxants such as carisoprodol or cyclobenzaprine may also be prescribed by a physician.

The good news is, most patients find that their symptoms improve in a major way with medications and physical therapy, according to EmedicineHealth. If associated nerve problems such as weakness or numbness or pain due to sciatica are present, surgery may be an option to talk about with your physician.

A variety of physical therapies may be used to treat spondylosis. A trained physiotherapist may use heat therapy to improve blood supply to the area. Heat helps to deliver more oxygen and nutrients to affected area, says HealthCues magazine. Heat therapy may also work to eliminate waste caused by muscle spasms. Cryotherapy, or cold treatment, offers comfort by slowing blood circulation to the affected area. E-stim, or electrical stimulation, eases muscles with variable intensity of electric current. This sort of electric stimulation often acts as a drug-free, natural painkiller that can ease back spasms and reduce or even eliminate inflammation.

A physical therapist may provide deep tissue manipulation to relieve chronic muscle tension and reduce spinal spasms. Better physical habits may help, as well. Workplace modifications and cervical collars or back braces can be recommended to alleviate symptoms on the job.  You might find that an  inflatable Hot Tub will work wonders.

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Surgery is generally the last resort for those who suffer from the severest forms of the disease. For persons who experience loss of bowel and bladder control, surgery to correct spondylosis can offer a much more comfortable life.

If you think you may have spondylosis, consult with your doctor. He or she can perform a series of painless tests that will let you know for sure. If you do have spondylosis, treatment options are available.

Chelsea Birch is a student at medical school who writes about medical and health issues when time in her busy schedule allows! She enjoys sharing her newfound knowledge and using her articles for further research and understanding.

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One Comment

  1. Robert Jones says:

    When I was last a hospital in-patient, two of us were there because we’d suffered enormous internal bleeds thanks to taking NSAIDs, specifically Naproxen, for spondylosis. If you have to take these things – and I’d never do so again – ensure you’re also prescribed a proton pump inhibitor to protect the lining of the stomach. It may be that not everyone is affected in this way, but for those who are a bleed could be fatal, and in my case nearly was. Any article, here or anywhere else, should take account of this danger.

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