Medical Q&As

Lumbar spondylosis - what is it?

What is lumbar spondylosis?

Spondylosis is also known as osteoarthritis of the spine and the term lumbar spondylosis refers to osteoarthritis that affects the lumbar section of the spine. Ageing is the primary cause of the process but the rate of degeneration and the location of the spinal changes vary with each individual. It can affect any part of the spine including the cervical, thoracic and lumbar portions of the spine. The condition affects the intervertebral discs initially and over time the degeneration extends to involve the facet joints between the individual vertebrae. Degeneration of the discs gradually gives rise to loss of space between the vertebrae. This can result in pinching of individual nerves as they exit the spinal canal between the vertebrae. This can trigger pain and numbness along the pathway of the pinched nerve. Over time spondylosis can give rise to thickening of various spinal ligaments and this can cause further pain and stiffness and can lead on to further nerve compression.