BENGALURU: Spine is an important part of the central nervous system. As age advances, our body undergoes various changes as a result of wear and tear over the years. As we age, our hair turns grey, skin texture changes and our vision diminishes. Similarly, spine goes through stress and pressure, leading to degeneration with age. This age-related condition affects the joints and discs of our spine involving the back and neck. Early diagnosis and proper treatment of spondylosis is all the more essential.
The type of spondylosis varies depending upon the affected region:
Cervical spondylosis affects the upper one-third of the spine in the neck region. The most common symptom is neck pain and pain in the shoulder blades and hands, which may be in one or both sides. As the condition worsens, it can cause stiffness in the hands and limbs. People are unable to grasp objects with their hands and also experience tingling or numbness in their arms and hands, movement of hands and legs will be difficult.
Lumbar spondylosis affects the lower one-third of the spine. The lumbar region is the lower back area, when affected, there may be lower back pain, pain in legs and tingling sensation or numbness . Later stages may involve difficulty in walking and weakness in the foot.
Degeneration of the spine may begin in the 30s or earlier but worsens as our age advances. A neurological examination involves the evaluation with detail history analysis. Neuroimaging is vital in diagnosing complications and conditions which arise as a result of spondylosis, cervical as well as lumbar such as:
Spinal Disc Prolapse- It is the herniation (damage and injury) of the disc that is cushioning or shock absorber tissue between the vertebrae of the spine, usually occurs as a result of excessive ,repetitive pressure and strain on the spine.
Osteoporosis- It is recommended that individuals over 50 years and above get themselves checked on an annual basis to identify potential consequences due to spondylosis early.
How is spondylosis treated?
Spondylosis is classified on the basis on the severity of pain, into three categories-Mild, Moderate and Severe. Usually, mild to moderate cases are cured by medical management (medication for pain relief) and neuro-spinal physiotherapy which adequately strengthens the affected region and helps develop flexibility by slowly and gradually exercising and practicing. However, moderate to severe cases require careful consideration and reexamination.
If the regular conservative treatment is unable to reduce pain, further neuroimaging is undertaken and a neuro-spine surgery is advised to prevent the further aggravation of pain and neurological impairment. It will prevent the further problem to the spine and the body.
The author is senior consultant, neurosurgery, Fortis Hospital,