Spondylosis Of The Spine - What Is It? Stages, Symptoms And Treatment

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Video: Spondylosis Of The Spine - What Is It? Stages, Symptoms And Treatment

Video: Spondylosis Of The Spine - What Is It? Stages, Symptoms And Treatment
Video: CERVICAL SPONDYLOSIS Causes, Symptoms and Treatment (NO SURGERY) 2023, March
Spondylosis Of The Spine - What Is It? Stages, Symptoms And Treatment
Spondylosis Of The Spine - What Is It? Stages, Symptoms And Treatment

Spondylosis of the spine: stages, symptoms and treatment

Spondylosis is quite common. The disease is accompanied by degenerative and dystrophic changes in the spine. One or several of its departments can suffer. With the disease, the vertebral discs, which are represented by elastic tissues, are destroyed. This narrows the gaps between the vertebrae, causing the joints to rub against each other. This pathology becomes the cause of acute pain.

The body triggers a compensatory mechanism in an attempt to reduce friction. Therefore, spines form on the surface of the vertebrae. They are called osteophytes. These growths put pressure on the nerve fibers, which contributes to increased pain.

Spondylosis is a chronic condition that often affects older people.

Spondylosis of the spine
Spondylosis of the spine


  • Spondylosis - what is it?
  • Spondylosis causes
  • Classification
  • Spondylosis stages
  • Symptoms of spondylosis of various departments
  • Why is the disease dangerous?
  • Diagnosis of spondylosis
  • Spondylosis treatment
  • Preventive measures

Spondylosis - what is it?

Spondylosis is a chronic disease of the musculoskeletal system characterized by degenerative-dystrophic changes in the spinal column. Any of its departments can be involved in the pathological process, but most often the lumbosacral zone suffers. At the initial stages of the development of the disease, the symptoms resemble osteochondrosis, so a person is in no hurry for medical help. As the pathology progresses, it makes itself felt more and more. Neurological disorders will be especially pronounced when spondylosis affects the cervical spine.

Spondylosis causes

Spondylosis causes
Spondylosis causes

In the early stages of the development of the disease, its symptoms are absent. The characteristic neurological symptoms appear much later, when nerve fibers are involved in the pathological process.

The reasons that can lead to the development of spondylosis:

  • Disturbances in metabolic processes.
  • Age-related changes in the body.
  • Excessive stress on the spine, which leads to persistent spasms.
  • Long-term static loads on the spine.
  • Physical inactivity.
  • Infections.
  • Hereditary predisposition.
  • Tumor neoplasms.


Depending on the location of the pathological process, the following types of spondylosis are distinguished:

  • Cervical spondylosis.
  • Thoracic spondylosis.
  • Spondylosis of the lumbosacral region.

The symptoms of the disease will vary, depending on which section is affected.

Spondylosis stages

Spondylosis progresses all the time.

Over time, it will go through 3 stages of its development:

  • First stage. Small processes are formed in the vertebral body, which do not go beyond its limits. Therefore, the symptoms of a person's illness do not bother.
  • Second stage. Osteophytes continue their growth, which becomes the reason for limiting the mobility of the spine. The person begins to experience aching pains. They gain strength with physical exertion, when exposed to cold or draft.
  • Stage Three. The vertebrae grow together with each other, which causes the complete immobility of the spine. A person suffers from severe pain, his muscle tone increases. Muscle uric acid levels are reaching critical levels. As the disease progresses, the person's well-being worsens.

Most often, the disease affects a 1-2-3 vertebra in the cervical or lumbar spine. Less commonly, the thoracic region suffers.

Spondylosis stages
Spondylosis stages

Symptoms of spondylosis of various departments

Symptoms of spondylosis can be subtle or intense. The disease has a chronic course and, if untreated, leads to the person becoming disabled.



Spondylosis of the cervical spine is often diagnosed due to the demands of modern life. Many people work in the intellectual sphere, which forces them to be in a static position for a long time.

The main symptoms of cervical spondylosis include:

  • Recurrent pain. They give to the hands, fingers, hand, shoulder.
  • Stiffness in the cervical and shoulder spine. It appears in the morning.
  • Numbness in the affected area.
  • Weakness in the arms, fingers and hands.
  • Headaches radiating to the occiput.
  • Imbalance.
  • Difficulty swallowing food.

Thoracic spine

Thoracic spine
Thoracic spine

Spondylosis affects the thoracic spine less often, but in this case, the disease will lead to severe symptoms, including:

  • Back pain, upper and lower back.
  • Pain when bending and straightening the trunk.
  • Stiffness in the back in the morning.

A feature of painful sensations is that they arise from one side of the body, to the left or to the right. During palpation of the affected areas, pain will concentrate along the spine, as well as in the front of the chest.

Lumbar spine

Lumbar spine
Lumbar spine

With damage to the lumbar spine, the 4th and 5th vertebra most often suffers. The pain can be concentrated on one or both sides.

The main symptoms of pathology include:

  • Pain that comes and goes from time to time.
  • Stiffness in the lumbar region in the morning.
  • Pain that gets better after exercise.
  • Numbness in the lumbar region.
  • Sciatica.
  • Gait disorder.
  • Tingling sensation in the lower back, legs and feet.
  • Disorders in the intestines and bladder. The functions of these organs are rarely affected, most often this happens when the cauda equina is compressed.

When bending forward, the pain goes away. A person may develop intermittent claudication, but it will be false, as the pain disappears with it when he flexes his back "like a ball."

Pinched nerve endings and sciatica develops when spondylosis of the lumbar spine is combined with osteochondrosis.

Why is the disease dangerous?

At an early stage of the development of spondylosis, there are no pathological symptoms. However, without treatment, the disease will progress. Cervical spondylosis leads to the fact that the blood flow in the vertebral arteries is disturbed, due to which the patient may lose consciousness, or he will be pursued by panic attacks.

In the future, spondylosis can lead to a loss of motor skills and impairment of mobility. A person can become disabled, as a certain part of the spine will simply be immobilized.

Diagnosis of spondylosis

Diagnosis of spondylosis
Diagnosis of spondylosis

Diagnosis of spondylosis in the early stages of its development presents certain difficulties. The disease develops gradually, and the pain it causes can be confused with pain in osteochondrosis.

Therefore, the doctor should clarify the following questions with the patient:

  • How long ago a person had painful sensations.
  • What precedes the onset of pain.
  • Where the pain radiates.
  • What factors contribute to the intensification of painful sensations.

After the survey, the doctor assesses the range of motion available to the patient. He asks him to turn his head in different directions, raise it up, lower it down. The next step is to assess sensitivity, identify pathological reflexes, determine muscle strength and the ability to maintain balance.

It is possible to identify signs of developing spondylosis using radiography. Osteophytes will be found on the picture.

If myelopathy is suspected, the passage of such instrumental examination methods as:

  • MRI. The technique provides information about damage to the nerve trunks.
  • CT. This method is more informative than radiography.
  • Electromyography and nerve conduction studies. To assess the conduction of nerves, electrodes are attached to the patient's skin, through which electrical impulses of various frequencies are supplied. This allows you to evaluate the conductivity of nerve fibers, namely, the speed and strength of the transmitted signals. EMG requires local anesthesia, since a needle electrode is inserted into the muscle to conduct the study. The electrical potential of the muscle is then evaluated. Most often, EIG and nerve conduction studies are performed in combination.

Spondylosis treatment

Spondylosis treatment
Spondylosis treatment

The degenerative processes that are triggered in a patient with spondylosis are irreversible.

Treatment of the disease, regardless of its type, has the following goals:

  • Elimination of the inflammatory reaction, relief of pain.
  • Removal of muscle spasm.
  • Improving disc nutrition by normalizing blood circulation.
  • Regulation of metabolic processes.
  • Slowing down the rate of destruction of the elements of the spine.

The most effective medicines include:

  • Diclofenac.
  • Ibuprofen.
  • Naproxen.
  • Celecoxib.
  • Etoricoxib.

NSAIDs may not be used by all people with spondylosis. The drug is not prescribed to patients with severe heart disease, liver and kidney pathology, bronchial asthma, hypertension, gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer.

Muscle relaxants. These drugs allow you to relieve muscle spasms, cramps and painful contractions from them. They have a relaxing effect on muscle fibers.

Diazepam is prescribed for patients with spondylosis. However, its reception is associated with the development of a sedative effect, a person's drowsiness increases, and dizziness may appear. You should not use this medication if the person is drinking alcohol or going to drive a car. Treatment should last no more than 10 days.

Multivitamins. They are complexes of useful substances that allow you to strengthen tissues, improve joint mobility and increase immunity in general.

Drugs that can be used to treat spondylosis:

  • Cocarnit. The patient is prescribed 1-2 ampoules per day. The course lasts 10 days. It will be possible to re-pass it only in six months.
  • VITABS arthro. Take 2 tablets per day with plenty of water.
  • Flexinovo. The drug is taken in a course that can last about 3 months. The patient is prescribed 1 capsule in the morning and evening.

Normalization of microcirculation. These drugs are prescribed in order to prevent the formation of blood clots, as they contribute to the normalization of blood circulation due to vasodilation.

Drugs that can be prescribed to patients with spondylosis:

  • Betahistine. Take the drug 1-2 tablets 2 times a day.
  • Agapurin. The drug is taken 2 pills 3 times a day. The course should last 7 days.

Chondroprotectors. Chondroprotectors are most often prescribed when a patient is diagnosed with cervical spondylosis. These drugs help restore cartilage tissue, improve metabolic processes and relieve pain. It is possible to achieve an improvement in well-being within 14-21 days after the start of therapy.

Drugs that are prescribed to patients with spondylosis:

  • Alflutop. The patient is given an injection of the drug (10 mg) every day. The course of treatment should be 20 days.
  • Rumalon. The drugs are administered to the patient intramuscularly (2 ml) every 3 days. The course consists of 15 injections. Alternatively, the dose can be reduced to 1 ml. The time interval is maintained, but the course is increased to 25 injections.
  • Artradol. The course can consist of 25-35 injections of 100 mg. They put them with a break of one day. The dose can be increased to 200 mg, but this is done after the first four injections have been delivered.

Antidepressants. If a person suffers from severe pain, then he may be shown taking antidepressants. They can only be prescribed by a doctor and for a short period. The doctor selects the dose individually.

Antidepressants affect the central nervous system, so the pain becomes less intense. Their reception leads to a sedative effect, to improve the quality of sleep and normalize mental functions.

Drugs that can be prescribed to a patient with spondylosis:

  • Amitriptyline. The dosage is 25 mg, the drug is taken 1 or 2 times a day.
  • Duloxetine. The dosage is 60 mg, the drug is taken once a day.
  • Doxepin. The dosage is 25 mg, the drug is taken 1 or 2 times a day.

Paravertebral. The setting of paravertebral blocks allows you to get rid of pain, eliminate muscle spasm. They are prescribed only if a person suffers from severe painful sensations, which cannot be stopped by other drugs.

Blockades are performed using Lidocaine or Novocaine 0.5-1%. The injections are injected into the muscles surrounding the spine. The dose can be up to 60 ml. The patient must remain immobile during the procedure.

Vasoactive agents. Their use allows you to expand blood vessels, thereby improving the nutrition of the affected tissues.

For spondylosis, vasoactive drugs are prescribed in the form of an injection:

  • Xanthinol nicotinate concentration 15%. The dosage is 2-4 ml. The drug is administered intramuscularly.
  • Nicotinic acid with a concentration of 1%. It is prescribed for up to 10 days. In order not to damage the liver during therapy, it is necessary to include in the diet foods that are a source of methionine, for example, cottage cheese.
  • Ascorbic acid with a concentration of 5%. The drug is administered 1 ml every day. It can also be taken in tablet form. The maximum daily dose is 500 mg.

Preparations for tissue repair. They are prescribed in order to accelerate regenerative processes, as well as to prevent the formation of blood clots in the vessels.

Drugs that can be used to treat spondylosis:

  • Kontraktubex. It is used in the form of a gel, which is applied to the lumbar region 0.5-1 cm every day. Treatment should last no longer than a month.
  • Aloe extract. The drug is applied to the affected area in an amount of 1 ml and rubbed. The treatment course should not last more than 20 days.



Indications for surgery for patients with spondylosis:

  • The patient has a pinched nerve trunk.
  • There is spinal cord compression.
  • There is a real risk of damage to the nervous system.
  • Pain cannot be eliminated in any other way.

You need to understand that the operation will not allow you to achieve recovery. It is aimed at stopping the pathological process of destruction of the tissues of the spine and eliminating pain.

Surgical intervention can be of the following types:

  • Anterior discectomy. It is indicated when a deformed disc puts pressure on nerve fibers.
  • Cervical laminectomy. During this procedure, the surgeon removes bone growths that put pressure on the spinal cord.
  • Intervertebral disc prosthetics. During its implementation, the patient's own disc is replaced with an artificial one. This technique is innovative, so there is no data on its effectiveness in the long term.

Physiotherapy treatments for lumbar spondylosis

Physiotherapy methods
Physiotherapy methods

Physiotherapy treatment can reduce pain, improve the conductivity of nerve fibers, accelerate metabolic processes in the body, and normalize blood circulation.

Procedures for patients with spondylosis:

  • Ultrasound treatment.
  • Electrophoresis with novocaine.
  • Treatment with diadynamic currents.
  • Performing exercise therapy.

Tibetan medicine

Tibetan medicine methods used in the treatment of spondylosis:

  • Acupuncture.
  • Acupressure and regular massage
  • Moxibustion.
  • Magnetic vacuum therapy.
  • Stone therapy.

Injection of steroids at trigger points

Injection of steroids to trigger points, epidural space, and joints can help relieve pain caused by spondylosis.

Honored Doctor of Ukraine, neuropathologist of the "Bersenev Medical Center" Vladimir Andreevich Bersenev talks about such diseases of the spine as spondylosis and spondyloarthrosis:

Preventive measures

The best prevention of spondylosis is to maintain an active lifestyle. Every day you need to do morning exercises, several times a week you should train at home or in the gym.

If a person is forced to sit for a long time due to professional duties, then you need to periodically do a warm-up. It is important to monitor your posture.

What matters is the diet. You need to eat right. Every day, the body must receive vitamins and minerals from foods.


The author of the article: Volkov Dmitry Sergeevich | c. m. n. surgeon, phlebologist

Education: Moscow State University of Medicine and Dentistry (1996). In 2003 he received a diploma from the Educational and Scientific Medical Center of the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation.

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