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Condition. Lumbar Spondylosis: Lower Back Pain

By Editorial Team (2)
January 31, 2022
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What is lumbar spondylosis?

Lumbar spondylosis is a degenerative condition of the lower or lumbar area of the spine. It is a descriptive term that means age-related wear and tears condition in vertebral discs in the lumbar spine. For instance, patients with different types of lumbar spondylosis may have: 

  • Pain after long periods of inactivity or when they are highly active, such as in facet joint arthritis
  • Spinal stenosis, which causes pain in the legs when walking due to the abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal
  • Pain due to degenerative disc disease, where spinal discs become dry and lose some of their function, causing pain in the lower back or neck, sometimes accompanied by leg or arm pain

Lumbar spondylosis can also refer to degenerative changes in the spine like osteophytes. These are sometimes called “bone spurs.” They are extra pieces of bone that grow along the edges of a bone. Not all conditions that lead to lumbar spondylosis result in pain. A more specific clinical diagnosis can be assigned once a physician determines the cause of pain.

Lumbar Spondylosis Types

The bones and cartilage in your spine and neck gradually wear down during the aging process. Lumbar spondylosis types include:

  • Disc herniation. As you age, the outer layer of your spinal discs becomes weaker and may crack. It leads to the formation of bulged (herniated) discs, which, in turn, can put pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots.
  • Discs dehydration. Discs act as cushions between spinal vertebrae. In most people, spinal discs begin to dry out and shrink with aging. It allows the vertebrae to come into contact with each other more often.
  • Bone spurs. Due to disc degeneration, extra bone tissue is often produced in the spine in an attempt to strengthen it. Such bone spurs can sometimes compress the spinal cord and nerve roots.
  • Stiff ligaments. A ligament is a tissue cord connecting bones. Your spine’s ligaments can stiffen with age, reducing your neck’s flexibility.

Prevalence

Lumbar spondylosis is a widespread condition. More than 80% of people over the age of 40 in the United States have this health problem. Only 3% of people in their twenties have the condition.

Bone spurs or osteophytes of the spine occur most frequently in the lumbar spine. Approximately 28% of women and 30% of men 55 to 64 years old have bone spurs of the lumbar spine.

Lumbar spondylosis is a degenerative condition. It has been seen in people as young as 20 years old, but it increases with age.

Lumbar Spondylosis Risk Factors

Some factors can increase a person’s risk of developing different types of lumbar spondylosis, including:

  • age
  • history of lower back injuries
  • history of lower back surgeries
  • occupation or activities that cause prolonged repetitive strain on the lower back
  • having family members with lumbar spondylosis

Click Here to read about Symptoms.

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