• In spondylosis, degenerative changes start in the intervertebral discs with osteophyte formation and involvement of adjacent soft tissue structures. 
  • When mechanical factors are prominent, the condition is often referred to as “spondylosis,” although the term is often applied to all non-specific spinal pain. 
  • Mechanical and degenerative factors are more likely to be present in chronic spinal pain.
  • Severe degenerative changes are often asymptomatic, but can lead to spinal pain, stiffness, or neurological complications.


    Cervical spondylosis – degenerative changes noted at C2,3 and C3,4

    Subjective Examination:

    • The most common symptoms of spondylosis are pain and stiffness in the spine
    • Spondylosis can be asymptomatic
    • Pain can be variable, with flare-ups followed by symptom-free periods. 
    • Around 1 in 10 people develop long-lasting (chronic) pain.

    Objective Examination:

    • Cervical Spondylosis
    • Poorly localised tenderness
    • Limited range of movement which can be in all directions.
    • Lumbar Spondylosis
    • Presents with pain, restricted range of motion, paraspinal muscle spasm and loss of lumbar spine lordosis
    • Pain is usually reported as mild to moderate, and is initially a dull ache that gradually increases in intensity
    • Pain is commonly localized to the paraspinal region, gluteals and posterior aspect of the thighs

    Treatment :

    • Symptoms will normally respond to conservative measures including analgesia, activity modification and Physiotherapy intervention which may include exercise therapy to increase active range and localised and global strength.
    • Stress management and postural advice on daily activities, work, and hobbies may be useful in some patients to encourage self-management of their symptoms. 
    • Manual therapy may be useful in some patient groups


    • Image from OpenI – Licensed by CC
    • Image from OpenI – Licensed by CC

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