Lumbar spondylosis is a term for any type of degeneration of the spine affecting the area between the pelvis and the lowest ribs. Lumbar spondylosis is not a diagnosis of any specific condition, although it does indicate that there is some type of degeneration present, which may or may not be causing pain.
Causes of Lumbar Spondylosis
Osteoarthritis, a breakdown of cartilage supporting discs and joints, is one of the most common causes of lumbar spondylosis. Sometimes referred to as “wear and tear arthritis,” it’s the most common form of arthritis. Lumbar spondylosis may also be caused by:
- Spinal stenosis: A narrowing of the spinal canal.
- Degenerative disc disease: Damage to one or more of the discs supporting the spine.
- Sciatica: Pain originating in the lower back that radiates to the legs, sometimes caused by a weakened or inflamed disc.
When It’s Time to Seek Treatment
Most cases of lumbar spondylosis, a fairly common condition among individuals over the age of 50, show no noticeable symptoms. Some type of treatment becomes necessary when discomfort is aggravated by movements, limits mobility, or results in back pain that becomes increasingly more severe to the point where it’s considered chronic.
Standard Treatments for Lumbar Spondylosis
For patients experiencing chronic lower back pain or difficulty sitting or standing for extending periods of time, it’s time to consider treatment options. Lumbar disc replacement, while right for some patients, is rarely required for lumbar spondylosis since most cases are considered mild. After some type of disc degeneration is confirmed through diagnostic testing, often including an x-ray or MRI, treatment typically includes one or more of the following options:
- Chiropractic care
- Physical therapy
- Pain and/or anti-inflammatory medications
- Light exercise, including yoga or water aerobics
Unconventional Treatments for Lumbar Spondylosis
Some patients not responding well to traditional treatments do better with more unconventional or uncommon treatments. Such options may include:
- Steroid epidurals
- Osteopathic manual therapy, a form of muscle manipulation
When discomfort is minimal or non-existent, no consistent treatment is necessary. Since disc degeneration is a normal part of aging, however, it’s important to consider additional potential sources of back pain other than disc degeneration.
To request more information or to schedule an in-person consultation with a spine surgeon in Los Angeles, reach out to Dr. Hyun Bae of The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration. The path to a pain-free lifestyle begins here.