Spondylosis is a term that many health care providers use to describe the degenerative changes in the spine that result in the loss of normal spinal structure and function. Examples of the conditions this umbrella term may be used to describe include:
- Most commonly, spinal arthritis;
- The water loss and degeneration that occurs in a spinal disc which may lead to a herniated disc;
- The formation of bone spurs in the facet joints or near the intervertebral discs;
- The weakening of the ligaments that connect the outside surfaces of the vertebrae.
The condition is usually caused by changes in the spine due to age, wear-and-tear, and osteoarthritis. Patients with previous spinal injuries may be more likely to develop one of three types of spondylosis:
- Cervical spondylosis affects the top seven (C1-C7) vertebrae (bones of your spine).
- Thoracic spondylosis impacts your thoracic vertebrae (the vertebrae in the middle of your back [T1-T12]).
- Lumbar spondylosis impacts the five vertebrae in your lower back (L1-L5).