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Spondylolysis Verses Spondylosis

By Expert Author: Garima Anamdani

You know, these terms have confused lots of patients and their loved ones. In fact, with similar names and pronunciation, they may seem the same to normal people. But, they are very different when it comes to symptoms.

Understand the spinal ailments

Spondylolysis is a defect of vertebrae. This defect is found in the pars interarticularis of the vertebral arch. In majority of cases, this is found in the lower back rather than in the thoracic region. The occurrence of this spinal ailment is higher in athletes participating in:
• Tennis
• Diving
• Gymnastics
• Football
• Wrestling
• Cricket
• Volleyball

Spondylosis, on the other hand, is degenerating osteoarthritis of the joints. Also known as Spondyloarthritis, this ailment refers to severe pain and spine degeneration.

Understand the patients

Though, it is not set in stone, Spondylolysis is more common among children and young adults. On the other hand, the degenerative ailment is more common among the old people as they are far more susceptible to spine degeneration.

Understand the treatments

Both the diseases have surgical and non-surgical forms of treatments available for the patients. There are few common non-surgical treatments such as:

• Physical therapy
• Medications such as NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti- Inflammatory Drugs)
• Pain relievers
• Exercises

Though, they seem same, the form of utilization is different as the illnesses are poles apart from each other. In addition to these treatments, there are few other options that are exclusive treatments for these ailments specifically.

Treatments for Spondylolysis:

The non-surgical option is bracing. However, you can also use surgical options for effective treatment of Spondylolysis. In most cases, you would be surprised to find them unnecessary, though.
• Posterior Lumbar Fusion: This is a spinal fusion surgery, where you would fuse two vertebrae together. This surgery enters the patient’s body from back side and completely fuses the defected vertebrae.
• Laminectomy: This surgery removes the bony rings of the vertebrae and releases the pressure. As the release of this pressure eases the nerve compression in Radiculopathy or Cauda equina syndrome, which can be caused by progressing the degenerative changes of this ailment.

Treatment for Spondylosis:

The most common non-surgical options are
• Chiropractic manipulative therapy,
• osteopathic manipulative treatment,
• massage therapy,
• yoga,
• acupuncture
• trigger point therapy
• Cervical facet joint injections
• Cervical epidural steroid injections
• Transforaminal injections

Surgical options are also available. However, they are suggested only if the patient fails to respond to conservative therapy options successfully. The surgical Spondylosis treatments available are:

• Anterior cervical discectomy
• Cervical laminectomy
• Prosthetic intervertebral disc replacement

Dr Garima Anandani (P.T.), CMP, Dip. MDT
Head- Clinical Operations, Qi Spine Clinic

Dr Anandani is the first clinician from India to qualify for the prestigious Diploma in M.D.T. from The McKenzie Institute International and University of Otago. She has acquired specialized training in Spine rehabilitation from St David's Spine and Sports Therapy, Austin, Texas (USA) and from The Polyclinic, Seattle (USA). She is also one of the few Certified Mulligan Practitioners in India, with over 14 years of clinical experience in handling musculoskeletal disorders.

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