Lumbar Spondylosis

November 12, 2012

Lumbar Spondylosis

Lumbar spondylosis is a condition of the spine most common in old people and can result in a number of health problems including back pain and neurological disorders.

What is lumbar spondylosis?

Thought to be caused by aging, lumbar spondylosis is a degenerative lower spine condition. As the spine changes, as people get older, one of the more common occurrences is the reduction in space between the vertebrae. As these changes cannot be preventable it is considered a degenerative condition, which can cause a range of health problems differing in severity from case to case. In some people symptoms may be confined to back pain where as others may also develop neurological issues. Lumbar spondylosis refers to lower back but the condition can also occur in the cervical and the thoracic vertebrae and is sometimes known as spinal osteoarthritis.

Symptoms of lumbar spondylosis

In most cases of people considered to be suffering from lumbar spondylosis, they are experiencing the disks located in their lower back gradually being forced closer together, causing a a narrowing of the space between the disks. When this happens it often causes a numbing, tingling or painful sensation, which patients describe as feeling as though the pain is radiating out from a localised area. The reason for these symptoms is the nerves that coming out of the spinal cord are experiencing excessive pressure due to the lack of space. These are the initial symptoms but if they are not caught early and treated, the condition can become worse. The next stage is for the spinal canal itself to begin to narrow, which will in turn cause pressure or impingement on the spinal cord. If this happens it can have an affect on a number of areas of the body and begin to cause more serious problems. For example bladder control can become weak, unsteady gait can occur as well as other serious neurological problems.

As the lumbar spondylosis develops, as you would expect the symptoms will gradually get worse. The vertebrae will become more and more stiff causing them eventually to fuse or immobilize. When this occurs the individual will experience increased and worsening back pain, decreased flexibility and a contorted spine. Lumbar spondylosis patients commonly also develop bone spurs on the spine around the areas where nerves are being pinched.

Diagnosing lumbar spondylosis

A doctor will usually be able to diagnose lumbar spondylosis through the combination of a manual exam and an x-ray of the spine. Further exams may be necessary to identify the extent of the condition and to see if the spinal canal has been affected. Once a diagnosis has been confirmed a treatment plan can then be put together. Treatment will vary greatly depending on the severity of the lumbar spondylosis, the exact area that has been affected and other factors affecting the patient such as their age. In extreme cases surgery may be recommended but in milder situations medication and physical therapy may be the advised treatment.

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