We are living in the age of modern technology, where tasks at hand can be completed within seconds. The usage of smart phones and laptops has been steadily increasing over the years – without these valuable tools it seems like one would be missing out. The dependency on mobile devices however has led to a regression of spinal health. At Healthworks many of our clients who have neck and low back pain have jobs which bind them to their desks or to their mobile devices for long periods of time. X- rays often show that many have at least a stage 1 spinal degeneration or a loss of spinal curvature.
What is Spondylosis?
Aging happens to all parts of the body including our spine, but today our spine seems to degenerate faster than we think. Spinal degeneration also known as spondylosis, usually affects the neck, upper back and the lower back. Early spondylosis is associated with degenerative changes within the intervertebral disc where dehydration of the disc occurs, thus causing loss of spinal disc height and a reduction in the ability of the disc to maintain or bear additional loads along the cervical spine.
Often this leads to a pinched nerve causing nerve symptoms like referred pain down the arm and signs of numbness and tingling. Studies have found that age group that was most likely to be diagnosed with Spondylosis were individuals aged between 45 and 64 (85.5%) – it affects more men than women. Recently however, early degeneration is being seen in younger age groups – especially those who have a desk-bound job. At Healthworks, we have seen early degeneration affecting clients as young as 16.
What are the symptoms of Spondylosis?
|1) Pain aggravated by movement||1) Low Back Pain|
|2) Referred pain (back of the skull, between the shoulder blades and upper limbs)||2) Leg pain|
|3) Pain behind the eye socket or headache||3) Numbness in foot or toes|
|4) Neck stiffness||4) Motor weakness to lower extremities|
|5) Numbness and tingling in the hands or fingers||5) Low back stiffness|
|6) Dizziness and vertigo|
|7) Poor balance|
Risk Factors for Early Spondylosis
1) Poor posture: Poor posture creates stress to the structures of the spine (muscles, joints, disc and nerves). With the abnormal stress that is placed on the spine, it speeds up the rate of wear and tear that is supposed to be natural as we age.
2) Occupation: Having a job with repetitive movements or spinal loading (twisting, lifting, bending, and sustained non-neutral postures), and whole body vibration (such as vehicular driving) to be factors which increase both the likelihood and severity of spondylosis.
3) Genetics: If people in a family have spondylosis, there is likely to be a stronger genetic predisposition to spondylosis.
What should I do?
Chiropractic and physical therapy are often very helpful in cases of spondylosis. Chiropractors often treat their clients with spinal manipulation to release nerve tension and can reduce the occurrences of referred pain or numbness and tingling.