What Is Spinal Spondylosis?

Spondylosis, also commonly referred to as spinal osteoarthritis or spinal arthritis, describes any form of spinal degeneration that occurs in the neck, lower back and middle back. Spondylosis is often accompanied by pain, especially during physical activity, reports Spine-health.

The human spine is divided into the cervical spine, thoracic spine and lumbar spine, and spondylosis may occur in all three regions. There are 33 bones, or vertebrae, in the spinal column, and interverterbral discs between each of these bones function as shock absorbers that cushion the spine as it moves. As humans age, one form of spondylosis involves these discs beginning to bulge or herniate, states Spine Universe.

The spine also has facet joints that facilitate movement between the bones comprising the spine. Osteoarthritis, the spondylosis of these facet joints, is among most prevalent forms of arthritis in America. Spinal joints are covered by cartilage, which protects bones from rubbing against one another, and as humans age this cartilage may begin wear away and produce bone spurs, reports Spine Universe.

Spondylosis is often accompanied by pain and mobility difficulties. Neurological exams and imaging tests such as a CT scan or an MRI are employed to discern specific diagnoses, states Spine Universe.