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Lumbar spondylosis is a degenerative joint disease that is very common in the elderly. Lumbar spondylosis is due to aging and time-related wear and tear on the vertebrae (bones) of the lower back. The deterioration due to lumbar spondylosis also affects the cartilage, a slippery substance that helps bones to move easily, and the discs, which are pillow-like tissues between the vertebrae that cushion movement of the lower back.
In many cases, there are no symptoms or complications associated with lumbar spondylosis. In some cases the degenerative changes in the lower back due to lumbar spondylosis can lead to compression of the spinal nerves (nerve roots), resulting in lower back pain and pain that radiates to the buttocks and legs. Lumbar spondylosis may also lead to abnormal growths (bone spurs) on the vertebrae, spinal osteoarthritis, chronic pain, and disability. For more details on complications and symptoms, refer to symptoms of lumbar spondylosis.
The degenerative changes in the spine of people with lumbar spondylosis generally begin by age 30, although symptoms often never occur or generally do not appear until much later in life. Risk factors for developing lumbar spondylosis include being elderly, having a back injury, a herniated disc, or spinal stenosis.
Lumbar spondylosis is often found incidentally on an X-ray or CT scan that was performed for unrelated symptoms or another suspected diagnosis. When there are symptoms of lumbar spondylosis, making a diagnosis begins with taking a thorough medical history, and completing a physical examination and neurological examination. During the physical exam, the physician will also asses the flexibility of the neck and back. A neurological exam evaluates the muscles, nerves and nervous system and such functions as reflexes, sensation and pain, movement, balance, coordination, vision, and hearing.
If symptoms are present, diagnostic tests may also include an electromyogram (EMG) which tests the nerve and electrical activity of muscles. A nerve conduction test may also be performed to test how fast the nerves transmit impulses to the muscles. Imaging tests, such as X-rays, CT scan, myelogram, or MRI may be done to determine if there is joint damage or nerve damage.
It is possible that a diagnosis of lumbar spondylosis can be missed or delayed because the vast majority of people have no symptoms or complications. Symptoms of lumbar spondylosis can also be similar to symptoms of other diseases and conditions. For more information on misdiagnosis and other diseases and disorders that can mimic lumbar spondylosis, refer to misdiagnosis of lumbar spondylosis.
Treatment for lumbar spondylosis varies depending on the severity of symptoms, the presence of complications, a person's age and medical history, and other factors. Many people do not need treatment at all. Lumbar spondylosis cannot be cured, but treatment can help to reduce symptoms. Treatment can include a combination of rest, medication, exercise, physical therapy, and surgery. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of lumbar spondylosis. ...more »
The vast majority of people with lumbar spondylosis do not have symptoms or ever develop complications. Symptoms when they do occur often do not develop until late in life. Symptoms can be due to compression of the spinal nerves (nerve roots), resulting in lower back pain and pain that radiates to the buttocks and legs. Lumbar spondylosis may also ...more symptoms »
There is no cure for the degenerative changes in the spine due to lumbar spondylosis. However, the vast majority of people with lumbar spondylosis do not have symptoms or complications and do not need treatment. When symptoms are present, early diagnosis and treatment will help to minimize discomfort and risks of complications. The most successful treatment plans usually use ...more treatments »
A diagnosis of lumbar spondylosis may be delayed or missed because there are usually no symptoms in most people. In addition, symptoms of lumbar spondylosis can mimic symptoms of a variety of other diseases and conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, minor back trauma, excessive exercise, and back strain. ...more misdiagnosis »
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