Editor: Dr. Amy Spencer, PT, DPT, OCS, MTC, CSCS, CKTP - A Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopedic Physical Therapy and Certified Manual Therapist. Owner and Physical Therapist, Specialized Physical Therapy in North Reading, MA.
Spondylosis refers to a degenerative condition of the spine that is also known as arthritis. It is a condition that causes changes to the bones, discs, and joints that make up your spine. These changes are usually caused by the normal wear-and-tear that accompanies getting older.
Causes of Spondylosis:
As your body ages, degenerative changes to your spine will occur from wear-and-tear.
Changes to your spine include:
- Dehydrated discs. Discs act like cushions between the vertebrae of your spine. By the age of 40, most patients’ spinal discs begin to break down, dry out, and shrink. This creates more bone-on-bone contact between the vertebrae.
- Herniated discs. Age also affects the exterior of your spinal discs. Cracks often appear, leading to bulging or herniated discs which sometimes can press on the spinal cord and nerve roots.
- Bone spurs. Disc degeneration often results in the spine producing extra amounts of bone, called bone spurs, in a misguided effort to shore up the spine’s strength. These abnormal growths can sometimes pinch the spinal cord and nerve roots (Spinal Stenosis).
- Stiff ligaments. Ligaments are cords of tissue that connect bone to bone. Increasing age can make spinal ligaments stiffen and calcify, making your neck less flexible.
Symptoms of Spondylosis:
Many people with spondylosis do not have any noticeable symptoms and if they do, the symptoms will vary depending on the location of the spondylosis:
The most common symptoms of cervical spondylosis in your neck are:
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Pain radiating from the arms
- Pins and needles in the arms and legs
- Loss of feeling in your hands and legs
- Loss of coordination and difficulty walking
The most common symptoms of lumbar spondylosis in your lower back are:
- Lower back pain and stiffness
- Pain that is worse in the morning and may improve with exercise
- Shooting pains that start in the lower back and travel down the legs (sciatica)
- Loss of coordination or difficulty walking
Treatment of Spondylosis:
Physical therapy is quite beneficial to patients with spondylosis. It can help you maintain mobility, teach you techniques that will reduce the pain, strengthen your spinal muscles so they can support your spine, and stretch muscles that could be contributing to the nerve compression in your spine.
Some patients with cervical or lumbar spondylosis will benefit from the use of traction. Traction is used to provide more space within the spine if the nerve roots are being pinched. Manual physical therapy will also be necessary to release chronic muscle tension or spasms that may be causing the pain. In addition, electrical stimulation therapy is used to safely stimulate your muscles using electrical current. This is done to reduce muscle spasms, but it may also increase your body’s production of endorphins (natural pain killers). Electrical stimulation may also alleviate inflammation and inspiring healing through relaxing and re-educating your muscles. Physical therapy, accompanied with tailored stretching and strengthening exercises will help restore spinal range of motion, muscle performance, and motor function.
SPT is just minutes from Andover, Reading, North Andover, and Wilmington MA
Specialized Physical Therapy is conveniently located in North Reading and also proudly serves residents in Andover, Reading, North Andover, Wilmington, Boxford, Burlington, Woburn, Stoneham, and Methuen. We offer free and spacious parking located within a few steps away from our clinic’s door.
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Specialized Physical Therapy practices a comprehensive approach to total muscle, joint, and spine health. We are the preferred physical therapy clinic in Greater Boston, because we offer an extensive range of physical therapy services designed to restore your physical strength and mobility while reducing your pain. Our physical therapy clinic sets itself apart by:
- Providing proven techniques for alleviating minor, major, acute, and chronic pain.
- Specializing in sports medicine, manual therapy, post-surgical care, auto accidents, prenatal and postpartum conditions, orthopedic injuries and overuse injuries.
- Maintaining a clean, comfortable, private and quiet clinic, making it ideal for private consulting, educating and performing the latest physical therapy techniques.
- Focusing on your individual needs, not the bottom line, because we are a small, physical therapist-owned and family-oriented clinic.
- Treating one patient at a time in our private treatment room to make sure that you get the personalized care and attention you need.
- Completing your treatment from start to finish with only exceptional doctorate trained and fully licensed Massachusetts physical therapists that have excellent skills, breadth of knowledge, and invaluable experience to help you reach your goals and succeed.