What is spondylosis?

Luke Macyszyn, MD
Spondylosis is a general term to describe various degenerative diseases of the spine. Most commonly, it refers to spinal osteoarthritis, which affects the joints of the spine (facet joints). It may lead to nerve compression or cause instability that results in low back pain.

Spondylosis involves degenerative changes in the vertebrae and discs due to ordinary wear. This is commonly found in the active adult. The vertebrae break down with age, as well as a decrease in water content in the intervertebral disc. Repetitive stress may also bring on spurs, called osteophytes. The most common site for spondylosis is between the fifth and last lumbar vertebrae and the first sacral vertebrae.

(This answer provided for NATA by the University of Tampa Athletic Training Education Program)

Continue Learning about Degenerative Spinal Disease

Degenerative Spinal Disease

Degenerative Spinal Disease

The term degenerative spinal disease does not refer to any one disorder of the spine, but is a general term that covers many types of disorders that cause wear and tear on the bones and tissues of the spine. This kind of spinal pr...

oblem is usually part of the normal aging process, but many people are more prone to spinal problems than others. Some common degenerative spine disorders are herniated disc (sometimes called slipped disc), a condition in which there is a bulge or a rupture of a disc that pushes against the spinal nerves. With the nerve compression comes pain and possibly numbness. Herniated disc can improve on their own, or you may need surgery. Spinal stenosis is another common back problem. This is a term that describes narrowing of the spinal canal and a build up of tissue that causes pain, stiffness and difficulty walking and moving around. See your doctor to determine the best treatment for your degenerative spine disease.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.