Spondylosis is a general medical term that is used to describe various forms of spinal degeneration that accompany the natural aging process. In some cases, physicians also use the term more specifically to describe the presence of spinal osteoarthritis or degenerative disc disease. Specifically, spondylosis occurs when the soft tissues in the spinal anatomy naturally deteriorate over time.

In most cases, spondylosis results from the cumulative effects of ongoing wear and tear on the spine. However, there are a number of risk factors that can increase your likelihood to develop spondylosis. These risk factors include obesity, genetic predisposition, a history of traumatic injuries and participation in high-impact sports.

Spondylosis, which can be diagnosed in the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar regions, is often classified by its location:

i.        Ankylosing Spondylosis (AS).

An inflammatory disease that, over time, can cause some of the vertebrae in your spine to fuse. This fusing makes the spine less flexible and can result in a hunched-forward posture. If ribs are affected, it can be difficult to breathe deeply.

ii.        Cervical Spondylosis.

Affects the seven cervical vertebrae (C1-C7) that make up the neck region; deterioration is common in this area, mainly because these vertebrae are highly mobile and support the weight of the head.

iii.        Lumbar Spondylosis.

Affects the five lumbar vertebrae (L1-L5); degeneration is prevalent in this area of the spine because the vertebrae in the lower back support the majority of the body’s weight and facilitate a wide range of motion.

iv.        Thoracic Spondylosis.

Affects the 12 thoracic vertebrae (T1-T12); deterioration in the middle back is relatively uncommon because the spine in this area is connected to and supported by the ribcage.

v.        Multilevel Spondylosis.

Affects the spinal components in more than one region.

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