LUMBAR SPONDYLOSIS: WHAT IT IS, SYMPTOMS, CAUSES AND TREATMENT


LUMBAR SPONDYLOSIS: WHAT IT IS, SYMPTOMS, CAUSES AND TREATMENT

Do you frequently have lower back pain? Did you have to go to see the specialist? Were you diagnosed with lumbar spondylosis? Do not worry! Although the name may seem scary to you it is actually quite common and here in Online Physiotherapy, we will explain what it is, what its causes and its treatment.
Before talking about lumbar spondylosis, you should know how your spine is constituted so you can get an idea of ​​what we are going to talk about later:
Anatomy of the spine
The column is made up of 31-34 bones (vertebral bodies) that are stacked together and linked by ligaments. The spine can be divided into four different zones according to the characteristics of its vertebrae: Cervical column (7 vertebrae), dorsal column (12 vertebrae), lumbar spine (5 vertebrae) and sacrococcygeal area (3 to 5 vertebrae).
An important feature of our column is the physiological curves we have. If you look at the spine in the profile you will find that it has a shape reminiscent of an “S” These two curvatures are known as kyphosis and lordosis. Lordosis is that “sunken” curvature that we have in the neck (cervical region) and in the lower back (lumbar region); kyphosis is the curvature we have in the upper back (dorsal region).
It is important to note that contrary to popular belief, we should not be totally upright, these curvatures are natural and really necessary for the correct balance of forces in our spine.
Lumbar spine and its characteristics
The lumbar spine is made up of five vertebrae (L1, L2, L3, L4 and L5). These vertebrae are the largest in the entire spine and therefore can support most of the body weight.
The vertebrae are connected at the back thanks to two joints called facet joints and in the space between them is the intervertebral disc. The intervertebral disc is very similar to a cushion mattress and its function is to avoid injuries between each vertebral in addition to keeping them together.
Between the posterior elements of the vertebrae, there are spaces or holes (conjunction holes) through which the nerve roots from the spinal cord leave, which will then connect with each other to form the sciatic nerve, which extends towards the legs through the part posterior of each thigh to the feet.
What happens in lumbar vertebrae when there is lumbar spondylosis?
Lumbar vertebral spondylosis, rather than a diagnosis, is a generic term used by health professionals to refer to conditions of the lumbar spine. Many times lumbar spondylosis is also known as lumbar osteoarthritis.
As we age, different biomechanical changes occur in our body and these changes will affect the structure of our spine.
When there is lumbar spondylosis it may be due to the following degenerative changes:
  • Deterioration of the intervertebral discs: Age and other factors can cause the intervertebral discs to reduce their size and gradually lose the water they contain, this will cause them to not fulfil their function as buffers and will increase the likelihood of hernias and lesions on the vertebral surfaces.
  • Deformations in the facet joints: The degeneration of the facet joints and the constant increase of friction between vertebrae causes the loss of articular cartilage (lubricating tissue that reduces friction enters the articular surfaces), and this will generate the appearance of osteophytes as a way the body uses to protect itself from friction Osteophytes are abnormal bone growths that cause pain and limitation of normal movement.
  • Wear on the vertebral bodies and ligaments: Osteophytes can be generated in areas where they limit the blood supply to the vertebra and therefore increase degeneration in the vertebral bodies as blood does not reach the tissues. On the other hand, the ligaments have the function of keeping the vertebral bodies in their position and limiting the extreme movements of each vertebra, but degenerative changes will cause them to decrease their resistance.
What are the causes of lumbar spondylosis?
The most common cause of lumbar spondylosis is natural ageing. It has been determined in different studies that, on average, appear in people who are between 40-50 years old.
Other causes may be:
  • Positions held for long periods of time
  • High impact exercises in the spine.
  • Wrong postures
  • Genetic abnormalities
Symptoms of a lumbar spondylosis
The main symptom of lumbar spondylosis is pain. This pain appears in the lower back and can sometimes radiate to other areas of the body such as the legs and feet. The pain radiates due to the path of the sciatic nerve since when structural changes occur in the vertebrae, compression of the conjunction holes and therefore of the nerves can also occur, generating: pain, muscle weakness and numbness.
Another symptom is the limitation of spinal movements: This is due to two factors: Very severe pain or major vertebral modifications that make normal movement impossible.
Lumbar Spondylosis Treatment
Lumbar spondylosis having a degenerative origin is not reversible. There is no definitive cure, but your symptoms can be greatly reduced. For this in physiotherapy we use the following means:
  • Physical agents: Use of hot packs, therapeutic currents, among others.
  • Massages: To reduce muscle tensions in this area.
  • Stretching and Therapeutic Exercises: For the recovery of movement and normal muscle strength.

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