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Spondylosis is spinal degeneration and deformity of the joint(s) of two or more vertebrae that commonly occurs with aging. Often there is herniation of the nucleus pulposus of one or more intervertebral discs and/or formation of osteophytes.
When the space between two adjacent vertebrae narrows, compression of a nerve root emerging from the spinal cord may result in radiculopathy (sensory system and motor system disturbances, such as severe pain in the neck, shoulder, arm, back, and/or leg, accompanied by muscular weakness). Less commonly, direct pressure on the spinal cord (typically in the cervical spine) may result in global weakness, gait dysfunction, loss of balance, and loss of bowel and/or bladder control. The patient may experience a phenomenon of shocks in hands and legs because of nerves contraction and lack of blood flow. If vertebrae of the neck are involved it is labeled Cervical Spondylosis. Lower back spondylosis is labeled Lumbar Spondylosis.
Neck pain can be relieved by wearing a hard collar around the neck which keeps the affected vertebrae slightly apart, and hence the pressure on the nerves is released. However, the use of a collar is not usually recommended as it can weaken the muscles supporting the vertebrae and hence exacerbate the problem in the long term.
Chiropractic treatment of this condition is often successful, although this claim is disputed by the medical profession. Many doctors point out that in the long term, chiropractic manipulation is no more or less successful than treatment with medication alone, which leads to the conclusion that the natural history of the disease is of paramount importance. Among chiropractic practitioners, there is a claim of an improvement in the alignment of the spine which reduces the inflammation and irritation of the spinal nerves.
Physiotherapy and Massage Therapy treatments focus on neck exercises and soft tissue balancing, and are now generally used as the preferred treatment. Symptomatic relief can be managed, but is limited in the presence of bony deformities.
Evidentiary support for mobility (physiotherapy) or manipulative (chiropractic) therapies has shown an observed improvement in perceived pain and immobility in mechanical neck disorders. However such therapies are not supported as being of greater use in relieving pain and inflammation than conventional medicine and neither was identified as being superior to the other. 
Injections of the spinal joints can be useful for relief of acute pain for otherwise intractable discomfort. Naturally, any spine injection should be performed by a physician with training in spine injection techniques. These injections should be done with xray assistance (fluoroscopy) to ensure accuracy.
There are many different surgical procedures to correct spinal deformity. The vertebra can be approached by the surgeon from the front, side, or rear. Portions of a disc may be removed. To prevent further dislocation, fusion of two vertebrae may be done by taking pieces of bone from the patient's hip and inserting them between the two vertebrae which are fused together and secured by screws.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Spondylosis". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|