Spondylosis is a term used to refer to the degeneration of the spine. It generally describes bony overgrowths, called osteophyes, which occur along the vertebrae. Spondylosis is a common occurrence and usually worsens with age.
Spinal stenosis describes the narrowing of the open spaces around the spine, often putting pressure on the spinal cord and the nerves travelling along the spinal cord. Stenosis can cause pain, weakness, numbness, and problems with bowel or bladder function. While stenosis can be present in either the lumbar spine or the cervical spine, it is more dangerous in the cervical spine as the compressions on the spinal cord can lead to severe weakness or paralysis. Spinal stenosis in the lumbar spine can produce pain that radiates down both legs, rendering the individual suffering from it extremely uncomfortable and unable to sit, stand, or walk for long periods of time.
Spondylolisthesis and spondylolysis
Spondylolisthesis occurs when a vertebra shifts out of place in the spinal column. This generally occurs as a result of spondylolysis – a stress fracture in the vertebra. The pars interarticularis is a portion of the lumbar spine, which connects the upper and lower joints. If this bone breaks, that is called spondylolysis. If the vertebra shifts due to instability because of the fracture, that is called spondylolisthesis. If the vertebra slips too much out of place, it can press on the nerves and cause excruciating pain. In many cases, surgery is necessary to correct the problem. Genetics and overuse are two of the main causes of spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis