Article by J. Miller, S.Armfield
What is Spondylosis?
Spondylosis (spine arthritis) is one of the most common causes of spine pain and stiffness once you are aged over fifty. Spondylosis is
further categorised depending on the region of the spine that it is present.
- Cervical Spondylosis (Neck Arthritis)
- Thoracic Spondylosis (Mid Back Arthritis)
- Lumbar Spondylosis (Low Back Arthritis)
Everyday "wear and tear" damages your spinal joints. In advanced stages, spinal arthritis can be painful and deteriorate into other conditions when the
nerves become pinched (eg sciatica).
Unfortunately, there is no cure. But the good news is that there are numerous ways making your life easier via the correct management
of the condition.
Physiotherapy is a very important part of making your life less painful, more functional and very enjoyable. It should also slow down
the speed with which your spondylosis deteriorates.
Physiotherapy has been shown by research to reduce the pain and disability associated with spondylosis.
How is Spondylosis Diagnosed?
There are over 150 different forms of arthritis for which there are different treatments. The most common form of arthritis in the spine is spondylosis. Basically, it's "wear and tear" arthritis. The more you repeatedly stress or traumatise your spinal joints the more likely it is you will develop spondylosis.
An experienced spinal health practitioner will have very good idea of whether you have spondylosiswhen they examine you. X-rays are the simplest test to
confirm spondylosis. MRI's and CT scans will highlight more specific findings.
How Does Spondylosis Effect You?
As you age, most people develop some degree of spondylosis. Wear and tear of your spinal joints may occur due to ageing, injury, prolonged poor posture,
overuse of joints, or excess weight.
Permanent bony changes occur and will exist even when there are no painful symptoms. The degree of suffering varies.
You may be symptom-free or suffer continuous disabling pain. The most common is mild or intermittent pain provoked by episodes of increased use or minor
Severe cases may require surgical treatment but luckily most sufferers will respond very well to physiotherapy and exercise-based treatment.
What are the Symptoms of Spondylosis?
- Spinal joint pain or tenderness that intermittently returns
- Spinal stiffness, particularly early morning
- Spinal joint deformity; seen on X-ray
- Painful spinal joint movement.
What Can You Do To Help?
- Respect your pain - rest when the pain becomes significant
- Avoid over-stressing joints with forceful or prolonged weight-bearing activities eg lifting, jogging
- Avoid jarring or sudden movements
- Lose Weight - the less you weigh the less your spine has to support
- Keep up General Exercise where pain allows eg walking, swimming, cycling
- Perform Core Stability Exercises to best support your spine and reduce your pain
- Use a TENS machine to assist pain relief in the comfort of your own home at any time of
the day or night.
- Glucosamine has been shown in some scientific research studies to be effective in the treatment
of arthritis. If you haven't tried it maybe you should.
Why Do Exercises Help Spondylosis?
Exercises for people with spondylosis should always be individually prescribed. Your physiotherapist is an expert at the prescription of exercises to suit
As a general rule remember if any exercise hurts then DON'T DO IT!
Specific Exercises Help Spondylosis by:
- Maintaining or increasing joint movement
- Loosening and stretching tight muscles
- Improving joint lubrication and nutrition
- Restoring muscle strength, spinal height and control
- Improving circulation to improve your healing rate
- Improving core control, poor posture or joint position
- Maintaining your general fitness.
The correct exercises will help you to feel better and retain or improve the health of your muscles and joints. Gentle regular exercises such as swimming,
water exercise (hydrotherapy or aqua-aerobics), walking or cycling are recommended. Core exercises are essential!
The end result is you'll feel much better and you'll start to enjoy life again!
What Exercises Should You Do for Spondylosis?
Everyone is different. It is best to seek the advice of your Physiotherapist to quickly solve your back pain and stiffness that is related to arthritis.
And as mentioned earlier, core exercises are essential!
How Can Physiotherapy Help Your Spondylosis?
Physiotherapists are highly qualified in the assessment and treatment of spondylosis.
Your physiotherapist will help you to:
- Quickly relieve pain
- Loosen stiff joints and muscles
- Strengthen your core muscles to stabilise the injured joints
- Improve your everyday living
What is Physiotherapy Treatment for Spondylosis?
Everyone's treatment for spondylosis will vary depending on your assessment. For more details on specific treatment modalities, please consult your physiotherapist
or view the more detailed information below.
Common Treatments for Spondylosis
Early Injury Treatment
How to Ease Arthritic Pain
Avoid the HARM Factors
Acupuncture and Dry Needling
Sub-Acute Soft Tissue Injury Treatment
Balance Enhancement Exercises
Proprioception & Balance Exercises
Agility & Sport-Specific Exercises
Real Time Ultrasound Physiotherapy
Soft Tissue Massage
Brace or Support
Electrotherapy & Local Modalities
Joint Mobilisation Techniques
Physiotherapy Instrument Mobilisation (PIM)
Supportive Taping & Strapping
Helpful Products for Spondylosis
FAQ's about Spondylosis
Common Physiotherapy Treatment Techniques
What Causes Back Pain?
What is Pain?
Physiotherapy & Exercise
When Should Diagnostic Tests Be Performed?
Massage Styles and their Benefits
What are the Best Core Exercises?
Can Kinesiology Taping Reduce Your Swelling and Bruising?
Chest Pain: Is it a Heart Attack or Your Spine?
Headache or Migraine... What to do?
Heat Packs. Why Does Heat Feel So Good?
How Does an Exercise Ball Help Back Pain?
How Much Treatment Will You Need?
How to Achieve the Best Standing Posture
Migraine? Free Online Test
Neck Headache? Free Online Test
Tension-Type Headache? Free Online Test
What are the Benefits of Good Posture?
What are the Common Adolescent Spinal Injuries?
What are the Common Massage Therapy Techniques?
What are the Early Warning Signs of an Injury?
What are the Healthiest Sleeping Postures?
What are the Signs of an Unsupportive Pillow?
What Can You Do To Help Arthritis?
What Causes Repeat Low Back Strains & Sprains?
What is a TENS Machine?
What is Chronic Pain?
What is Good Standing Posture?
What is Nerve Pain?
What is Osteoarthritis?
What is the Correct Way to Sit?
What to do when you suffer back pain?
What's the Benefit of Stretching Exercises?
When Can You Return to Sport?
When Should You Use a Shoulder Posture Brace?
Which are the Deep Core Stability Muscles?
Why are Sprains and Strains of the Low Back Common?
Why does Back Pain Recur?
Why Kinesiology Tape Helps Reduce Swelling and Bruising Quicker
Back Muscle Pain
Core Stability Deficiency
Degenerative Disc Disease
DOMS - Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
Facet Joint Pain
Lumbar Stress Fractures (Cricket Fast Bowlers)
Neck Arm Pain
Sacroiliac Joint Pain
Spondylolysis (Back Stress Fracture)
Spondylosis (Spine Arthritis)