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Physical therapy for spondylosis

What is spondylosis?

Spondylosis is a common degenerative condition that can affect any of the spine’s intervertebral discs and facet joints, reducing the amount of space between vertebral bodies and hindering normal motion of the facet joints. Though spondylosis affects many older people and is typically not serious, it can be quite painful and may interfere with day-to-day functioning.

Spondylosis, also known as spinal osteoarthritis, commonly occurs in the neck and lower back, as these spinal regions are the most likely to experience excess stress. Besides pain, patients with spondylosis may also experience stiffness after periods of inactivity or abnormal sensations such as numbness or tingling. Spondylosis most commonly occurs in patients older than 40 years old — and in fact, more than 80% of individuals over 40 demonstrate evidence of the condition.

Source: Spine Universe

Spondylosis symptoms

Because cervical spondylosis develops very gradually, the vast majority of patients with the condition experience no symptoms. When they do occur, the most common symptoms by far are pain and stiffness in the neck and/or back.

However, spondylosis can also result in a narrowing of the space in the spine through which the spinal cord and nerve roots pass. If this occurs, the spinal cord and nerve roots may become pinched. Patients with pinched spinal nerves may experience tingling, numbness, or weakness in the limbs and extremities, lack of coordination, and loss of bladder or bowel control.

The most common symptoms of spondylosis include:

  • Pain in the neck and back
  • Stiffness in the neck and back
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Loss of coordination

Source: Mayo Clinic

What causes spondylosis?

The most common cause of spondylosis, far and away, is aging. Years of stress and strain change the various structures of the spine and can cause the joints to degenerate, eventually leading to stiffness and discomfort. Aging can also contribute to other spinal conditions, including herniated discs, bone spurs, and stiff ligaments, which can develop into spondylosis.

However, certain factors can place some patients at greater risk of developing spondylosis than others. Genetics, for example, can be a predictor of spondylosis. Patients with family members who have spondylosis tend to be at greater risk themselves. In addition, lifestyle factors can increase the risk of developing spondylosis; smoking, for example, which can dehydrate the spine.

The most common causes of spondylosis include:

  • Aging
  • Genetics
  • Lifestyle factors

Source: Spine Universe

Physical therapy for spondylosis

Most cases of spondylosis, even when particularly severe, do not require surgical intervention. Rather, non-surgical methods like physical therapy have been shown effective in improving functioning and mobility while reducing pain. With the help of a licensed physical therapist, patients with spondylosis can learn how to modify their movements and lifestyle to reduce pain and discomfort.

A physical therapist can also advise the patient in methods for maintaining fitness without causing further discomfort. Once the patient’s pain and discomfort have been addressed, a physical therapist can help them to improve flexibility and strength, with the eventual goal of enabling the patient to return to regular activity.

Source: Move Forward PT

Luna’s physical therapists treat spondylosis

Luna has physical therapists across the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Orange County that specialize in treating patients with spondylosis. Our PTs are equipped to help patients adjust their movements and lifestyle to reduce pain, with the eventual goal of helping them to become consistently pain-free. Our physical therapists endeavor to help patients return to the activities they love, as quickly and as safely as possible.

Best of all, with Luna, patients can receive physical therapy for spondylosis at home. Luna’s licensed physical therapists come to you — it’s physical therapy, delivered.

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