What is Lumbar Spondylosis?
The lumbar is the part of your spine in your lower back, and lumbar spondylosis is the natural degeneration of the spinal discs in the lumbar area over time. With age your spinal discs shrink, and bone spurs happen. Most people over 50 aren’t going to experience symptoms, even though minor lumbar spondylosis is still occurring.
When symptoms of lumbar spondylosis do happen they are an indication that it’s progressed to a point that investigation is warranted. Lumbar spondylosis can progress more quickly with repetitive motion of the spine, heavy lifting and weight gain.
The Symptoms of Lumbar Spondylosis
Some of the most common symptoms of lumbar spondylosis are radiating back pain that comes and goes. You may experience joint or muscular stiffness, and muscle weakness or tingling in the back, or legs. You might also have some numbness and tenderness where the nerve is compressed. More extreme cases have loss of bowel or bladder control.
Differences Between Spondylosis and Spondylolisthesis
Medical terms can sound similar, but mean vastly different things. Spondylosis is a degenerative osteoarthritis of the spine and can commonly be called degenerative disc disease. As we said earlier, it happens with age over time.
Spondylolisthesis is the displacement of a vertebrae which usually happens after a break or fracture. Isthmic Spondylolisthesis is the more specific name of this which is when a vertebra slips forward over a vertebra below it.
However, in some cases Spondylosis does in fact cause Spondylolisthesis, and it’s called degenerative spondylolisthesis. The weakness occurring with degeneration over time causes the vertebrae to slip rather than displacement caused by a break.
Cervical Spondylosis vs Lumbar Spondylosis
The differences between lumbar and cervical spondylosis are the areas which are effected. There are 4 segments of the spine, cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral. Cervical is the neck area, thoracic is the chest and upper back area, lumbar is the lower back and sacral is right above the tailbone (called the Coccyx).
Cervical spondylosis is common, and is also known as cervical osteoarthritis or neck arthritis. Bone spurs, dehydrated spinal discs, and herniated discs are potential causes of cervical spondylosis. These can all be a result of aging.
Other than natural aging, some other risk factors are neck injuries, or strain on your neck. Possible genetic factors may play a role, and even smoking can have an effect.
Treating Lumbar Spondylosis
The first approach to treat lumbar spondylosis will usually be exercise therapy. Aerobic, stretching, and muscle strengthening can help with chronic lumbar spine pain. These regimens should be tailored to the individual to treat the pain as best as possible.
You can also take medications like NSAIDs to see if it will relieve your pain. There are also steroid injection medications that are applied directly to the affected area that may help.
If none of the lumbar spondylosis pain management treatments work, you could turn to surgery. When lumbar spondylolisthesis happens and the pain is very severe without help from pain medication, surgery can help alleviate the symptoms.