What is Lumbar Spondylosis?

Lumbar spondylosis refers to degeneration to the spine of the lower back.  According to spine-health.com, “Spondylosis is not a medical diagnosis; it is a term that describes symptoms related to degenerative changes in the spine.”  It is used as a descriptive term, describing the type of pain and spine degeneration that a patient may have.

Most lumbar spondylosis symptoms are caused by arthritis, specifically osteoarthritis of the spine.  As humans age, cartilage breaks down causing the bones of the spine to grind against one another.  This grinding causes loss of mobility and friction.  From here, bone spurts or osteophytes can form which causes the pain a patient might feel.  These bone spurts press against the spinal nerves, muscles, and ligaments and this type of pain in the lower back is described as lumbar spondylosis.

Spine-health.com also mentions that, “Spondylosis may also describe pain caused by spinal stenosis, in which a spinal nerve root becomes compressed as it passes through an opening in the side of each vertebra.”

And finally, spondylosis can refer to changes in spinal discs or degenerative disc disease.  Spinal discs begin to thin, lose moisture, and break down.  If the pain associated with this disease is in the lower back, it can be described as lumbar spondylosis.

Again, spondylosis, whether it be lumbar spondylosis, cervical spondylosis, or thoracic spondylosis is not a clinical diagnosis.  It is a term that can be translated to mean that a person has both spine degeneration and pain.  What can be causing that pain differs from patient to patient.  If a patient is told they have spondylosis, they should ask their physician which part of the spine is degenerating (lumbar, cervical, or thoracic) and if they need an MRI scan to confirm it.  If the MRI scan confirms that the pain is being caused by lumbar spondylosis, the doctor can then figure what is causing the spondylosis and develop a treatment plan.