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Spondylosis Causes and Risk Factors
Spondylosis is an aging phenomenon. With age, the bones and ligaments in the spine wear, leading to bone spurs (osteoarthritis). Also, the intervertebral discs degenerate and weaken, which can lead to disc herniation and bulging discs. Spondylosis is common. Symptoms are often first reported between the ages of 20 and 50. Over 80% of people over the age of 40 have evidence of spondylosis on X-ray studies. The rate at which spondylosis occurs is partly related to genetic predisposition as well as injury history.
The main complication of spondylosis is low back, mid back, or neck pain. Usually the back and neck pain caused by spondylosis is not serious, but some people develop chronic pain due to their condition. It is unusual for spondylosis to cause serious neurologic dysfunction due to nerve compression. Over time, the degenerative changes of spondylosis can cause spinal stenosis, where the spinal canal becomes narrow, and the spinal cord can become pinched. Therefore, spinal stenosis in the neck or low back can be a complication of spondylosis. Cauda equina syndrome, a syndrome where the nerves at the bottom of the spinal cord are compressed by an intervertebral disc or a mass, is a rare complication of spondylosis that can cause severe nerve problems.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/27/2015
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