Osteoarthritis Of the Spine (Spondylosis)

Osteoarthritis of the spine, or spondylosis, is something that happens to many people as they age. This diagnosis refers to degenerative changes in the spine, which may include bone spurs or degenerating discs. For some people, discs can begin the degeneration process as early as our teen years, and, as a result, can become bulging or herniated. The onset of osteoarthritis most commonly occurs in adults between the ages of 20–50. Over 80 percent of adults over the age of 40 have evidence of arthritis visible on x-rays.

Age of Onset and Symptoms of Osteoarthritis of the Spine

Disc Problems.

The age of onset of osteoarthritis symptoms is impacted by lifestyle and genetic factors. Spinal injuries, for example, can increase a person's risk of arthritis and cause symptoms to appear at an earlier age. Osteoarthritis is more likely to develop in spinal joints that have sustained a previous injury and can take years to develop. Other risk factors include having an occupation that requires repetitive neck movements, overhead movements with awkward positioning, genetic factors, a sedentary lifestyle and smoking. This condition may occur in any of the sections of the spine but is most common in the cervical (neck) and lumbar (lower back) sections. Osteoarthritis can impact one single vertebra, or it can be multilevel—that is, impacting multiple vertebrae at once.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis of the spine may not be noticed by a large percentage of those who have it. 27–37 percent of those with osteoarthritis of the lower back do not have any symptoms. Those who do experience symptoms tend to report neck, shoulder or back pain and may also have headaches, tenderness, muscle spasms and trigger points. More advanced stages may also be accompanied by tingling, numbness and weakness in the limbs or difficulties with walking. These symptoms are typically caused by a pinched nerve, increased inflammation, a bulging or herniated disc, or bone spurs on the facet joints (joints of the spine). Such conditions can also cause inflammation and spinal nerve sensitivity, and the pain can range from mild and sporadic to chronic and aggressive.

In certain cases, additional conditions may develop along the spine, depending on the nature of the arthritis. A condition called radiculopathy can occur when a spinal disc herniation pinches the nerve roots as they emerge from the spinal cord. Sciatica may occur if the sciatic nerve connecting the lower back to the back of the leg and foot is compacted. In other cases, the spinal cord itself can be compressed due to trauma, stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal), degenerative disease or disc herniation; this condition is referred to as myelopathy.

Diagnosing and Treating Osteoarthritis of the Spine

Degenerative disc disease.

If you are concerned that you may have osteoarthritis, a chiropractor can diagnose your condition. Upon visiting a chiropractor, a series of tests may be run to determine if there is any degeneration in the spinal vertebrae and discs. Imaging tests may be recommended. If osteoarthritis of the spine is detected, chiropractic treatments may include low-level laser treatments, ice and heat therapy, ultrasound therapy and massage. Regular spinal adjustments will also most likely be performed to help correct and alleviate pain from bulging or herniated discs, pinched nerves or restrictions along the spine. Lifestyle modifications may also be recommended to support greater overall health.

Why Seek Chiropractic Care for Osteoarthritis of the Spine?

Osteoarthritis can result from wear and tear on the spine, but we don't have to live with many of its unpleasant symptoms. Various research studies have shown the positive effects of chiropractic care for treating symptoms of osteoarthritis. Chiropractors can help correct misalignments of the spine caused by bulging or herniated discs and bone spurs while reducing pain and other symptoms.

While osteoarthritis of the spine can't be reversed, chiropractic maintenance care can slow down its progression. Taking good care of your spine by seeing your chiropractor regularly and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle can help reduce or even prevent arthritis of the spine. We can help keep your spine healthier longer and support you in living a pain-free, healthy and active lifestyle.

Reviews By Our Satisfied Patients

  • "I've been coming to see Dr. Bob since 1984 for my back pain. After each visit, the vast improvement lasts about one whole month. Even after all these years, Dr. Bob continues to provide outstanding care for me, my children, and my grandchildren. I've referred several people to HealthWise Chiropractic, so they too can see the results I have. My favorite part of my visits is the friendliness and professionalism of the staff and doctors and, of course, the results I get that improve my daily living."
    Danny S.
  • "About ten years ago I was at the gym, I bent over and couldn't get up, the pain was horrible. I contacted Healthwise and Dr. Mike gave me an emergency appointment that evening. He did a complete physical and x-ray before he started any treatment. After my first treatment I was able to stand up and walk with minimal pain. With a few visits I was back to normal. I continued treatments as needed for the next several years.
    I see Dr. Bob regularly to stay fit and pain-free. He tests my strength and weakness to determine the best treatment. Our open discussion led him to help my acid reflux. I now exercise and walk as is essential for a septuagenarian.
    I told Dr. Bob that I was starting to get knee pain that I thought was arthritis; I didn't think chiropractic care could help. He told me about new equipment to help. I look forward to improvement.
    I was a skeptic of chiropractic care, now I would recommend HealthWise to anyone with chronic/simple pain. It worked for me. It can work for you!"
    Sherry B.
  • "I was very miserable with constant pain in my leg while knowing it had something to do with my back. My friend surprised me with an appointment with Dr. Bob. After being treated by Dr. Bob I knew right away it was exactly what I needed. I learned a lot through my conversations with the doctor. I am really thankful to Dr. Bob and his staff."
    Ed L.
  • "I had a very limited understanding of chiropractic care until I tried it for the first time 12 years ago. I came in with severe pain in my neck, which prohibited me from moving my head. I was greeted by a kind staff, had an exam and x-rays done on my first appointment followed by an adjustment. I felt so much better after my first adjustment and by following the treatment plan my headaches and migraines improved. My overall health has improved because of chiropractic care. Dr. Bob helps make sure that I am taking the right supplements to optimize my health and fitness performance. They have helped me with allergies, knee and shoulder pain, and earaches. I had no idea when I began my chiropractic journey just how much help the doctors and staff at HealthWise would be at improving my quality of life."
    Britt H.
  • "I have been a patient at HealthWise Chiropractic for over 20 years. In the past and currently I am seeing Dr. Bob, however, I have seen all docs at Healthwise. My general issues are usually seasonally related to sinus and allergies. Recently I have been receiving treatment for my hip and lower back. Dr. Bob zeros in on trigger points and quickly relieves my pain. He is a wealth of knowledge and offers help and suggestion on my health issues. The staff is friendly and helpful. I leave feeling better and I believe helps to keep my body aligned and energized. I have also come in after falls, injuries and surgeries. I truly believe my adjustments at the time added to a quicker recovery."
    Liz B.
  • "I have been a patient of Dr. Bob for two and half months. . I see him for an adjustment every two weeks. I started seeing a chiropractor for the first time in January 2021 while working in Florida for my continued lower back pain and chronic bilateral hip bursitis. Because my pain was mostly relieved with continued adjustments, I decided to continue with treatment when returning to Wisconsin. I have been very happy with my continued pain relief/adjustments at HealthWise. I highly recommend anyone with chronic back and neck pain to try chiropractic adjustments here at HealthWise. It will make your life better."
    Marianne V.
  • "Really enjoyed the different things that they can do for you and your pain management. Would highly recommend."
    Rhiannon P.
  • "I enjoy coming, getting readjusted and any additional therapies. It has made my life healthier and less stressful. If I have questions, they are answered at that visit. The staff is very professional, personable and friendly. I always look forward to my next visit with them. I am glad to be part of Healthwise Chiropractic family:)"
    Marcella L.
  • "DR MIKE IS A GREAT CHIROPRACTOR. HE TAKES THE TIME TO GIVE YOU A COMPLETE ADJUSTMENT IS TIME. HE IS ALSO A GOOD CONVERSATIONALIST. THANKS"
    RICHARD R.
  • "Dr. Mike is fantastic! He is very personable….will take time to really to your needs… I enjoy my visits…the maintenance has helped tremendously…..and he is there when the emergency pops up! Excellent Chiropractor!"
    Ann W.


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