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Back Pain | Mechanical Disorders | Inflammatory & Infectious Disorders | Tumours | Trauma | Osteoporosis
Back Pain - Mechanical Causes: Spondylosis

Spondylosis (spinal osteoarthritis) is a degenerative disorder that may cause loss of normal spinal structure and function. Although aging is the primary cause, the location and rate of degeneration is individual. The degenerative process of spondylosis may affect the cervical (neck), thoracic (mid-back), or lumbar (low back) regions of the spine.

Spondylosis often affects the following spinal elements:

Intervertebral Discs

As people age, certain biochemical changes occur affecting tissue found throughout the body. In the spine, the structure of the intervertebral discs (annulus fibrosus, lamellae, nucleus pulposus) may be compromised. The annulus fibrosus (eg, tire-like) is composed of 60 or more concentric bands of collagen fiber termed lamellae. The nucleus pulposus is a gel-like substance inside the intervertebral disc encased by the annulus fibrosus. Collagen fibers form the nucleus along with water and proteoglycans. The degenerative effects of aging can weaken the annulus fibrosus' structure, causing the 'tire tread' to wear or tear. The water content of the nucleus decreases with age affecting its ability to rebound following compression (e.g. shock absorbing quality). The structural alterations from degeneration may decrease disc height and increase the risk for disc herniation.

There are numerous mechanical causes of back pain including:

 

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