Sometimes health care terms are as complex as the condition, or at least it can seem that way. Take the term “spondylosis.” That sounds like something intense, especially since hardly anyone has ever heard of the term.
In reality, spondylosis is not really a condition, but a term for degeneration of the spine usually due to osteoarthritis. It’s not a clinical diagnosis. Spondylosis is anything but rare. Just about everyone has some degree of spinal degradation over time. It’s simply the wear and tear from daily living.
Dr. Trujillo deals with the pain caused by this degradation in our spine, the degradation of spondylosis.
How is spondylosis diagnosed?
Since spondylosis isn’t a specific condition, Dr. Trujillo looks to find the specific source of your pain. This starts with a physical exam and taking a detailed history of the symptoms you’ve been having. He’ll check your range of motion when bending forward, backward, and side-to-side. He’ll look for an abnormal curvature in your spine. He’ll feel your spine for any tender spots, muscle tightness, spasms, bumps, or areas of inflammation.
He’ll most likely use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computer tomography (CT) scans to help pinpoint the areas where the pain is originating. These imaging technologies allow him to see the soft tissues, such as the discs and the nerve roots. We also use x-rays to gauge the degeneration of your vertebrae.
Can spondylosis be prevented?
Our patients from around the Show Low area ask us what they can do to prevent this deterioration of their spine. Spondylosis is spinal osteoarthritis, and osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. That’s because it is “wear and tear” arthritis caused by, well, simply living. Over 80 percent of people over the age of 40 will show evidence of spondylosis on x-rays. According to the Arthritis Foundation, spinal arthritis may affect as many as three quarters of people over the age of 60.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it. These are some things you can do to help ward off the effects of spondylosis:
- Stay active — It doesn’t have to be some killer workout regimen, just walking, moving, doing yard work, riding a bike, anything but sitting around all day.
- Eat better — More fruits and vegetables. Less fat. Less red meat. More fish. You do need protein, so everything in moderation.
- Hit your ideal weight — It’s hard when our metabolism slows to a snail’s crawl as we get older, but losing weight is simply a numbers game: burn more calories than you take in. Obesity is a good way to ruin your later years in life.
- Reduce stress — Stress is tied to spondylosis. Try and mitigate it as much as possible.
- Stop smoking — If you do, it’s time to stop. Smoking cigarettes is directly linked to osteoarthritis, as it impedes blood flow, which helps keep our joints healthy.
If you have chronic pain due to spondylosis, there’s no reason to simply live with it. Call Dr. Trujillo at Summit Healthcare Pain Clinic Associates, (855) 768-4968, and let’s see how we can help.