Lumbar Spondylosis (Back Osteoarthritis)

What is Lumbar Spondylosis (Back Osteoarthritis)?

Lumbar spondylosis, also known as back osteoarthritis or spinal osteoarthritis in Singapore, is a degenerative condition that affects the lumbar spine, which is the lower portion of your spine – the lower back. As you get older, the spinal discs and joints in your lumbar region can undergo wear and tear, leading to lumbar spondylosis and lower back pain.

Spinal cord (Lumbar Vertebrae)

What causes Lumbar Spondylosis (Back Osteoarthritis)?

Lumbar spondylosis is primarily caused by ageing and wear and tear on your lumbar spine. The older you get, the more the spinal discs between the vertebrae and facet joints in your lower back undergo degeneration and gradual changes.

These changes may include the formation of bone spurs and the loss of cartilage, leading to reduced flexibility and increased friction within your lumbar joints.

Other factors that may contribute to lumbar spondylosis include:

  • Previous back injuries
  • Poor posture and repetitive movements
  • Genetics
  • Smoking

What are the symptoms of Lumbar Spondylosis (Back Osteoarthritis)?

Symptoms of lumbar spondylosis include:

  • Lower back pain
  • Stiffness in the lower back
  • Reduced flexibility and range of motion in your lower back
  • Pain that worsens with certain movements or activities
  • Numbness or tingling in your legs – severe cases

Is Lumbar Spondylosis (Back Osteoarthritis) painful?

Yes, lumbar spondylosis can be painful. The condition involves the degeneration of the lumbar spine, which leads to the formation of bone spurs and the loss of cartilage in the joints. These changes can cause compression and irritation of the nerves in the lower back, resulting in pain and discomfort. The severity of the pain does vary between individuals from mild to severe and can worsen over time if left untreated.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, make an appointment today.

lumbar spine
Lumbar spondylosis occurs due to ageing, wear and tear, and degeneration of the spinal discs between each vertebra.

Who is at risk of Lumbar Spondylosis (Back Osteoarthritis) in Singapore?

In Singapore, age is the leading cause of lumbar spondylosis. Your lumbar spine wears and tears over time, which can lead to degenerative changes, making you more susceptible to this condition. However, other factors that increase an individual’s risk of lumbar spondylosis are:

  • History of back injuries or trauma
  • Poor posture
  • Engaging in repetitive back movements
  • Family history/genetics

How is Lumbar Spondylosis (Back Osteoarthritis) diagnosed?

If you suspect you may have developed lumbar spondylosis, seeking medical evaluation for a proper diagnosis is essential.

Diagnosis of lumbar spondylosis occurs in the following ways:

  • Medical history: symptoms, medical history, and any previous back injuries or conditions.
  • Physical examination: to assess your lower back’s range of motion and strength, and identify any signs of nerve compression.
  • Imaging tests: such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (link to service page), or computed tomography (CT) scans (link to service page) to visualise your lumbar spine and identify any degenerative changes, bone spurs, or narrowing of the spinal canal.

Neurological evaluation: helps to determine if nerve compression is present and whether it impacts your neurological function.

Once a thorough assessment has been conducted, the lumbar spondylosis diagnosis will be based on the findings, and an appropriate management plan will be created for you. It is essential to get an early diagnosis to initiate timely treatment and prevent further progression of the condition.

x-ray lumbar spine
Imaging tests will be conducted to diagnose lumbar spondylosis.

What are the treatment options for Lumbar Spondylosis (Back Osteoarthritis) in Singapore?

In Singapore, there are several treatment options available for lumbar spondylosis.

These treatment options include:

  • Pain management: such as over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription medication to ease lower back pain and inflammation.
  • Physical therapy: specific exercises and stretches can improve lower back strength, flexibility, and posture to reduce symptoms
  • Heat or cold therapy: heat or cold packs can be applied to the affected area to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Lifestyle modifications: avoid any activity that worsens symptoms and maintain a good posture to prevent further strain on your lower back area.
  • Weight management: maintaining a healthy weight has been known to reduce stress on the lumbar spine, thus improving symptoms.
  • Injections: such as corticosteroid/cortisone injections can be used to reduce any inflammation and relieve pain.
  • Surgery: this is only considered if all conservative treatment methods are ineffective or if severe nerve compression causes neurological deficits.

Frequently asked questions  

Is lumbar spondylosis the same as lower back pain?

No, lumbar spondylosis and lower back pain are not the same. Lumbar spondylosis is a degenerative condition affecting your lumbar spine, while lower back pain can have various causes. If you experience persistent lower back pain, seeking medical evaluation for an accurate diagnosis is important.

Can I do exercises to relieve the pain from lumbar spondylosis?

Yes, you can do exercises to help relieve the pain associated with lumbar spondylosis. Consulting a physical therapist can provide you with a personalised exercise plan tailored to your condition.

How long does it take to recover from lumbar spondylosis?

The recovery from lumbar spondylosis varies for each individual and depends on the severity of the condition and the effectiveness of your treatment plan.

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Copyright © 2023 Chou Neuroscience Clinic. All Rights Reserved