- Not to be confused with spondylitis, spondylolysis or spondylolisthesis.
Spondylosis is degenerative arthritis, osteoarthritis, of the spinal vertebrae and related tissue. If severe, it may cause pressure on nerve roots with subsequent pain or paresthesia in the arms.
When the space between two adjacent vertebrae narrows, compression of a nerve root emerging from the spinal cord may result in radiculopathy (sensory system and motor system disturbances, such as severe pain in the neck, shoulder, arm, back, and/or leg, accompanied by muscular weakness). Less commonly, direct pressure on the spinal cord (typically in the cervical spine) may result in global weakness, gait dysfunction, loss of balance, and loss of bowel and/or bladder control. The patient may experience a phenomenon of shocks (paresthesia) in hands and legs because of nerve compression and lack of blood flow (ischemia). If vertebrae of the neck are involved it is labeled Cervical Spondylosis. Lower back spondylosis is labeled Lumbar Spondylosis.
"Treatment is usually conservative in nature; the most commonly used treatments are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), physical modalities, and lifestyle modifications. Surgery is occasionally performed. Many of the treatment modalities for cervical spondylosis have not been subjected to rigorous, controlled trials. Surgery is advocated for cervical radiculopathy in patients who have intractable pain, progressive symptoms, or weakness that fails to improve with conservative therapy. Surgical indications for CSM remain somewhat controversial, but most clinicians recommend operative therapy over conservative therapy for moderate-to-severe myelopathy." (Baron, M.E.)
There are many different surgical procedures to correct spinal deformity. The vertebra can be approached by the surgeon from the front, side, or rear. Portions of a disc may be removed. To prevent further dislocation, fusion of two vertebrae may be done by taking pieces of bone from the patient's hip and inserting them between the two vertebrae which are fused together and secured by screws.
- Thomas, Clayton L. (1985). Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary. F.A. Davis Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. ISBN 0-8036-8309-X.
- Baron, M.E. (2007) Cervical Spondylosis: Diagnosis and Management. http://www.emedicine.com/neuro/topic564.htm