What Is the Definition of Spondylosis?

Spondylosis, also known as degenerative disc disease, is a condition of the spinal cord caused by the deterioration of intervertebral discs, states Mayfield Clinic. Spondylosis may affect the cervical, lumbar or thoracic region of the spine.

Spondylosis occurs as a result of the spine’s natural aging process. As a person ages, the spinal discs gradually shrink, dry out and break down. These changes cause the spinal discs to lose their flexibility and ability to cushion the spine, explains WebMD.

The symptoms of spondylosis vary from person to person. According to MedlinePlus, the common symptoms of spondylosis include neck or back pain, headaches, and shoulder or peripheral numbness. Loss of balance and urinary or bowel incontinence, although uncommon, may also be experienced.

Several factors increase a person’s chances of developing spondylosis, explains the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. These risk factors include a family history of neck pain, mental health issues, a previous spinal injury, smoking, and an occupation that involves frequent neck motion and overhead work.

Spondylosis patients are often advised to undergo physical therapy, states the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Pain and anti-inflammatory medications are also prescribed. Nonsurgical treatments of spondylosis also include soft collars, steroid-based injections and cervical epidural block. Surgery is often reserved for patients who are unresponsive to other treatments.