Lumbar (Low Back) Pain Spondylosis

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Pain in the Lumbar Spine as a Result of Spondylosis

Spondylosis is a term used to describe general dysfunction of the lumbar vertebrae. The condition is usually caused by the wear and tear of age and it often occurs in the lumbar region of the spine. When it does, among the chief symptom complaints is low back pain.

Spondylosis and Lumbar Pain

When lumbar pain is present that is caused by spondylosis, the culprit is a general dysfunction in the lumbar vertebrae which often includes disc dehydration and loss of disc height. This is especially true in older people who suffer from degenerative spinal conditions like arthritis. The pain and dysfunction can also cause pressure on the sensitive nerves in the lumbar area, which can present as additional symptoms of weakness, tingling and numbness that may radiate to the limbs.


Is Spondylosis a Symptom of a Lumbar Spine Pain?

Sometimes the various names for different lumbar pain conditions can cause confusion. This applies to three common terms used in diagnosing pain problems in the lumbar spine: spondylosis, spondylitis and spondylolisthesis. Although the three sound very similar, they are actually quite different, and they require different approaches to treatment.

To make matters more confusing, they can sometimes all be present in the same patient, at the same time. It helps to understand the word roots of these medical terms to fully grasp what is meant by each condition.

The words are based on the Greek root word “sphondylos” which means vertebra, and thus, each word has to do with some dysfunction of the vertebra in the lumbar spine. The suffix “-osis” means that a disease state is present, and spondylosis is mainly describing arthritic changes to the vertebrae. The suffix “-oliothesis” means slipping or dislocation, so spondylolisthesis is the slipping of one vertebra over another. Finally, “-itis” means that inflammation is present, and spondylitis describes an inflammation that affects the lumbar vertebrae.

Spondylosis describes general dysfunction of the vertebrae. This is usually caused by the wear and tear of age, is often related to osteoarthritis, and is more commonly seen in the neck. However, it can occur in any area of the spine, and it often does occur in the lumbar region. A few items are present in spondylosis.

First, the lumbar vertebral discs become dehydrated from age and lose their height. Next, discs can herniate due to injury or wearing out, and they can put pressure on the nerve roots.

Then, the body forms bone spurs to help shore up the vertebra, but these spurs usually end up causing pain by impinging on surrounding nerves. Finally, the muscles and ligaments of the back become stiff and non-compliant, causing lumbar pain.

The symptoms of spondylosis are very similar to those of a herniated disc. This is because the changes to the vertebrae and discs often impinge nerves in much the same way a bulging disc does. For instance, you may experience lumbar pain that extends into your arms when the problem is in the neck or into the legs when it is in the lumbar region.

People affected by spondylosis may have difficulty using their limbs, and bowel and bladder dysfunction can sometimes be experienced in severe cases. Pain medications are often used to treat spondylosis, from anti-seizure medications to narcotics. Injections of anti-inflammatory medications directly into the lumbar spine may also be helpful in reducing pain. In some cases, spinal fusion surgery is necessary to remove the parts of the disc and vertebra that are impinging on nerves and to reduce lumbar pain symptoms and to restore stability to the lumbar spine.

At a Glance: Alleviating Lumbar Spine Pain from Spondylosis

  • Certain medication treatments can help alleviate the lumbar spine pain symptoms of spondylosis
  • Some spine health experts recommend hot/cold compresses be used as instructed to reduce inflammation
  • Physical therapy may help people with spondylosis to alleviate stiffness in the lumbar spine
  • Consult a physician as spondylosis is usually a symptom of another degenerative condition in the lumbar spine

Glossary of Lumbar Pain Terms

  • Spondylitis – when the joints in the vertebrae of the lumbar spine become inflamed
  • Spondylolisthesis – when one lumbar vertebra slips over and on top of the vertebra below it
  • Spondylolosis – spinal wear and tear with age that usually causes lumbar vertebral dysfunction including disc dehydration and loss of disc height.

Health Tips

  • Always eat breakfast
  • Eat your fruit and veg
  • Take time to shop each week
  • Sit down at the table to eat
  • Get adequate rest daily.

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