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Symptoms of Spondylosis

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Your symptoms depend on where your spine is affected by spondylosis (also known as spinal osteoarthritis). These symptoms can range from mild to severe and may become chronic or even disabling. They may include:

Neck (Cervical Spine)

  • Pain that comes and goes
  • Pain that spreads into your shoulders, arms, hands, or fingers
  • Morning neck or shoulder stiffness or a limited range of motion after getting out of bed
  • Neck or shoulder tenderness or numbness
  • Weakness or tingling in your neck, shoulders, arms, hands, or fingers
  • Headache in the back of your head
  • Loss of balance
  • Difficulty swallowing (This is rare, but it may occur if the spinal cord is compressed.)

Mid-back (Thoracic Spine)

  • Pain in the upper and mid sections of the back
  • Bending and extending your body triggers pain
  • Morning mid-back stiffness after getting out of bed

Low Back (Lumbar Spine)

  • Pain that comes and goes
  • Morning low back stiffness after getting out of bed
  • Pain that decreases with rest or after exercise
  • Low back tenderness or numbness
  • Sciatica (mild to intense leg pain)
  • Weakness, numbness, or tingling in the low back, legs, or feet
  • Difficulty walking
  • Bowel or bladder problems (This is rare, but it may occur if the spinal cord is compressed.)
Updated on: 05/19/11
Jason M. Highsmith, MD
This article was reviewed by Jason M. Highsmith, MD.
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Causes of Spondylosis

Spondylosis is caused primarily by aging: As you age, the parts of your spine wear out, perhaps causing pain. Spondylosis can put the body through a cause and effect process. One anatomical change causes another—and maybe more pain. Article also discusses other common spondylosis causes.
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