Spondylosis is a defect that occurs at all levels of the spine. It occurs with the aging process and can be asymptomatic in some people. The intervertebral discs and articular facets are the two spinal structures that are mostly affected by the degenerative process. The symptoms of Osteoartrithritis have clinical similarities to those of Spondylosis. Facet arthritis cause changes in the structure and function of the disc which results in hypertrophy in the articular facet. These changes redirect compression loads or shift compression from the anterior and middle column of the spine to the posterior elements. There might also be hypertrophy (Ostephytes or bone spurs formation) of the vertebral bodies that are adjacent to the degenerative disc.
Diagnosis of the condition is typically made by radiologic examinations such as MRI, CT scan in order to rule out other disease conditions as well as classify the progression of the disease. A Discography can be done to make a confirmative diagnosis as well. Physical examination of the patient is a very effective tool that is used to identify the clinical symptoms. Biochemical and histological changes normally precedes anatomical changes, therefore blood chemistry and histology are recommended to make accurate diagnosis.
Rest, NSAID medication and physical therapy are non-operative care for Spondylosis and Degenerative Disc Disease. Steroidal and facet injections have given excellent result and considered “gold” standard in treating age related diseases.
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