What Is Spondylosis?

There are more than 100 types of arthritis; the most common type, osteoarthritis, affects more than 27 million people in the United States. Spondylosis is a type of arthritis caused by wear-and-tear of the spine.

Spondylosis occurs when discs and joints break down or bony growths (bone spurs) develop on the end of bone. Some patients have both. It can develop in your neck (cervical spine), lower back (lumbar spine), or mid and upper back (thoracic spine). Lumbar spondylosis and cervical spondylosis are the most common.

If you’re diagnosed with spondylosis, the goal is to ease pain so you feel better. Here at Carolinas Center for Advanced Management of Pain, our board-certified physicians do everything possible to relieve your pain.

Spondylosis overview

Your spine gives your body structure and supports movement. Bones called vertebrae make up the lumbar spine. Joints between each vertebra allow you to bend and move flexibly. Discs — which have a tough exterior and a soft, jelly-like inner core — provide cushion between each vertebra so you can move with ease.

As you age, these intervertebral discs lose their hydration and become thin and dry, causing them to lose some of their ability to provide cushion between the bones of the spine. The joints between the vertebrae are susceptible to wear-and-tear.

This can cause the bones to rub together. In response, growths known as bone spurs may develop. These changes can cause pain and make your spine stiffer.

Who is at risk for spondylosis?

Daily wear-and-tear of the spine is the main cause of spondylosis, and age is the biggest factor in this type of arthritis. Other risk factors for spondylosis include:

Activities that increase wear-and-tear, such as having a job that involves heavy lifting or repetitive weight-bearing movements involving the spine, raise the risk of spondylosis.

Symptoms of spondylosis

Spondylosis causes inflammation of the affected part of the spine. While spondylosis of the upper back often occurs without symptoms, spondylosis that affects other parts of the spine can cause symptoms. The most common symptoms are:


Spondylosis can lead to narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis). This can cause pressure on your spinal cord and nerves, leading to numbness, pain, and tingling.

The degenerative changes of the spine caused by spondylosis can lead to sciatica. Pressure on the large nerve that runs from the lower back down the back of each leg can cause a radiating or shooting pain along the sciatic nerve.

Our team has extensive experience managing spondylosis and the complications that can arise from this often painful condition.

Your treatment depends on the severity of your symptoms. Your provider makes individualized recommendations to address your symptoms and bring your relief. As part of our comprehensive pain management program, we offer wide array of treatments, including:

Symptoms of spondylosis don’t have to disrupt your daily life. If you’re struggling with symptoms of spondylosis, contact one of our team members by calling the office nearest you. We have several clinics located throughout North and South Carolina.

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