Lumbar spondylosis is a term describing the degeneration of the cartilage and bones of the lower back (lumbar vertebrae) and is most frequently attributed to osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis or spondylolisthesis. Spondylosis is a broad term applicable to any form of degeneration in the spine, which naturally occurs as people age.
Adults 60 years and older are at greater risk of lumbar spondylosis, though abnormal wear on the spine can accelerate the degenerative process.
Possible symptoms include lower back pain and stiffness in the morning and evening; leg pain while standing or walking; decreased height; and sudden sharp back pain. Pain intensity and duration can vary. Other common symptoms include:
Your doctor and other health professionals can help you manage your pain and stay as active as possible. Cold packs and heat therapy may help relieve pain during flare-ups. Your doctor may also refer you to a physical therapist, who will give you exercises to strengthen, condition and stretch your back muscles. Epidural steroid (anti-inflammatory) injections may help relieve pain, and low doses of prescription medications may help some patients whose long-term back pain interferes with daily activities.
If pain caused by lumbar spondylosis does not respond to these treatments, or if you have a loss of movement or feeling, surgery may be done to relieve pressure on the nerves or spinal cord.
Surgical options to help relieve pain caused by lumbar spondylosis include:
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