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Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis (DISH) (cont.)

Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis Symptoms and Signs

Decreased range of motion of the spine, especially in the mid back, is the most common sign of DISH. DISH commonly causes pain in the affected area. For example, neck pain is common in people with DISH in the cervical spine (the spine in the neck).

If large bone spurs form in the neck, they can rarely cause difficulty breathing or trouble swallowing. Very rarely, large bone spurs in the neck or elsewhere in the spine can cause serious complications due to compression of the spinal cord. Bone spurs in the low back can put pressure on the spinal nerves and cause numbness and tingling in the legs.

Other signs of DISH include tenderness over sites where ligaments attach to bones, such as the back of the heel where the Achilles tendon attaches to bone.

The symptoms of DISH can be similar to those seen in other diseases affecting the spine or sites where tendons attach to bone including degenerative disc disease, degenerative spondylosis, ankylosing spondylitis, spondylolisthesis, spondyloarthropathy, and spinal arthritis.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor if you have DISH and develop difficulty swallowing or changes in sensation (such as numbness or tingling) in your arms or legs.

Signs and symptoms of the rare complication of compression of the spinal cord are difficulty walking, loss of bowel or bladder control, and loss of sensation in the groin. These symptoms, while rare, should be evaluated emergently.

Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis Diagnosis

The diagnosis of DISH is made using X-rays. In patients with DISH, X-rays show abnormal bone formation along the ligaments of the spine. X-ray findings are most prominent in the thoracic spine of the mid back. Therefore, X-rays of the thoracic spine are often necessary for diagnosis. X-rays may also show abnormal bone formation where ligaments attach to bones.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/24/2015

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