Symptoms and Signs of Spondylosis

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 10/31/2022

Doctor's Notes on Spondylosis

Spondylosis refers to the degeneration of the disc spaces between the vertebrae of the spinal column. Aging is the most common cause of spondylosis. With normal aging, the discs start to lose moisture and become shrunken. Spondylosis can affect different regions of the spine in both the neck and back, and it can be present in more than one area of the spine. Cervical spondylosis refers to the degeneration of the disc spaces between the vertebrae of the neck.

Spondylosis may be mild and not lead to any specific symptoms or signs. When it is severe, it can cause:

  • pain and stiffness or
  • decreased range of motion of the spine.

In some cases, spondylosis results in a narrowing of the area of the spinal cord and the nerve roots exiting from the spinal cord. If these nerves are pinched or compressed, associated symptoms may include:

  • weakness,
  • numbness or tingling in the extremities,
  • gait disturbances,
  • coordination problems, or
  • loss of bowel or bladder control.

What Is the Treatment for Spondylosis?

Treatment of symptoms related to spondylosis may involve:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications to reduce inflammation and control pain
  • Physical therapy to help with symptom relief
  • Surgery in severe cases to relieve compression on the spinal cord or spinal nerve roots 

Other treatment options may include:

  • Chiropractic care
  • Muscle relaxant medications
  • Acupuncture
  • Short-term brace use
  • Injections of medications around the affected areas of the spine

Must Read Articles:


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.