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Spondylosis (cont.)

Spondylosis Follow-up

Your doctor may want you to schedule a follow-up appointment to monitor your response to treatment. Routine follow-up imaging, such as X-ray, CT, or MRI, is usually unnecessary. The exception is a change in symptoms that may change therapy, such as new onset sciatica or new onset pain radiating down one arm.

What Are Spondylosis Complications?

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.

Is It Possible to Prevent Spondylosis?

Spondylosis is a degenerative process, and there is no known method to prevent the degenerative pathologic process. However, some measures may be helpful to prevent the neck and back pain that spondylosis may cause.

What Is the Prognosis of Spondylosis?

Generally, the prognosis of spondylosis is favorable. Many people with spondylosis do not have any symptoms. Of those who develop back or neck pain due to spondylosis, most improve within a few weeks of the onset of their symptoms. Few people go on to develop chronic pain due to spondylosis.


Carragee, E.J. "Persistent Low Back Pain." The New England Journal of Medicine 352 (2005): 1891-1898.

Deyo, R.A. et al. "Herniated Lumbar Intervertebral Disk." The New England Journal of Medicine 374 (2016): 1763-1772.

Hochberg, M.C., et al. Rheumatology, 4th ed. London: Elsevier, 2008.

Rothschild, B.M. "Lumbar Spondylosis." Medscape. Apr. 19, 2011. <>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/20/2016

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