Spondylosis: An Old Problem?

A woman is holding her hurting lower back.

© fizkes | shutterstock.com (edited)

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Roland Liebscher-Bracht is performing a pain-free exercise.

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While walking tall on two legs may have helped humans gain pole position in the animal kingdom’s pecking order, it could be argued the human spine was hardly designed for this ground-breaking evolutionary development. In many senses, our biped spine is a legacy from our earliest ancestors who, of course, moved around on all fours. Their ancient quadruped spine was developed to act like an efficient suspension bridge with their vital organs slung below, surrounded by a bony rib cage for protection. But how that simple arrangement has been changed and modified over the years:

“The human spine has been transformed into a weight bearing column, putting it under unprecedented stresses …”1)

So one direct cost of bipedal locomotion — our unique ability to walk and run —  has been an increased susceptibility to all kinds of painful spine-related back injuries and problems. For many people, such issues seem to multiply with advancing years, with medical professionals often attributing the cause to spondylosis — commonly defined in medical circles as the ‘age-related wear and tear of the spinal column.'2)

Roland Liebscher-Bracht

Roland Liebscher-Bracht

Germany's most trusted pain specialist and author of several bestselling self-help books on the treatment of pain conditions.

 
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Roland Liebscher-Bracht is Germany's most trusted pain specialist and author of several bestselling books on pain treatment. Together with his wife, Dr. med. Petra Bracht, he has developed a revolutionary method to treat pain conditions. With the help of the so-called "osteopressure", where you press specific points on your body, and special stretching exercises, pain can be stopped entirely without medication or surgical intervention. This pain treatment allows you to alleviate pain by yourself. Find out how exactly this works in this article or our numerous YouTube videos.

Roland Liebscher-Bracht

Germany's best-known pain specialist and author of several bestselling books on self-help against pain.

 
Read more

Roland Liebscher-Bracht is Germany's best-known pain specialist and author of several bestselling books on pain treatment. Together with his wife, the physician Dr. Petra Bracht, he has developed a revolutionary new form of pain treatment: With the so-called "Osteopressur", in which certain points on your body are pressed, and special stretching exercises, pain can be stopped completely without medication or surgical intervention. It is particularly important that this pain treatment gives you the opportunity to help yourself against your pain in a self-determined way. You can find out exactly how this works in this article and in the numerous YouTube videos.

1. But What Exactly Is Spondylosis?


Spondylosis is an umbrella term for a broader range of degenerative, non-inflammatory, spinal conditions. In fact, some practitioners believe:

“… spondylosis is more of a descriptive term than it is a clinical diagnosis … [meaning] that one has both pain and spine degeneration, regardless of what is causing the pain or where the degeneration is occurring.”3)

Others point out that, although the effects of worn vertebrae and intervertebral discs are often labeled ‘degenerative disc disease,’ that could actually be a misnomer:

“The condition is not truly a disease, but a mechanical* issue—the gradual breakdown of the discs between the vertebrae due to the ordinary wear and tear of aging. (Or in some cases, the wear and tear brought on by traumatic injury.)”4)

*mechanical meaning that the “pain originates from the joints, bones, or soft tissues in and around the spine.”5)

Perhaps most important of all is the need to understand that spondylosis can be the initial trigger for a domino effect where one kind of spinal weakness may precipitate a chain of associated problems. As one expert comments:

“Spondylosis is a cascade: One anatomical change occurs, which leads to more degeneration and changes in your spine’s structures.”6)

2. A Practical Assessment


Spondylosis sufferers readily express the notion that their back pain must surely be the result of severe cartilage wear allowing direct bone-to-bone friction. Yet it can be surprising to learn that, even though experts consider this to be a common condition, it regularly occurs without any painful symptoms.

For example, one representative MRI-based study of 98 people without back pain symptoms revealed some astonishing findings, as depicted in Figure 1 below:

A pie diagram of the spondylosis prevalence.

Figure 1: Prevalence of Spondylosis.

Although a significant minority (36%) of study participants received an ‘all clear’ assessment of their spinal health, the results for the majority (64%) signaled a need for further investigation.7)

A careful analysis of those participants with potential wear and tear issues (see Figure 2) produced evidence classifying the types of damage found.

Despite the unequivocal MRI findings, none of these people had previously reported experiencing back pain.

Pie diagram of spondylosis statistics.

Figure 2: Analysis of Findings

📌Affirmative Practice Experience

This evidence bears out our own observation at Liebscher & Bracht, drawn from 35 years of pain therapy practice, which is that spinal wear can routinely occur without symptoms. Consequently, this ‘hidden’ condition may only ever be diagnosed by chance.

This practice experience (involving thousands of patients with back pain) also confirms one further important finding: In the overwhelming majority of cases, intervertebral disc degeneration results from increased tension in the muscles and fasciae surrounding the intervertebral disc.

That knowledge compels us to highlight four important, and carefully reasoned, assertions about spinal health:

You don’t have to accept spinal wear and tear as inevitable.
Our self-help, pain therapy exercises can significantly alleviate any present pain.
With regular, varied movements, intervertebral disc joints can last a lifetime.
Your body’s natural regenerative powers will then cope with normal cartilage wear and tear.

The truth is, we now simply move too little in everyday life, thus causing our backs prolonged and inappropriate strain. A sedentary lifestyle constantly exposes us to excessive muscular tension, which can gradually lead to impairments such as stiffness, numbness, and restricted mobility.

3. Risk Factors: Who Is Likely to Suffer From Spondylosis?


Many medical professionals would agree with this risk assessment from the Virginia Spine Institute:

“As our bodies age, the intervertebral disc starts to lose fluid leading to collapse in disc height and other degenerative changes … Some people develop spondylosis at an earlier age depending on certain risk factors including history of trauma, history of smoking, genetic predisposition, or occupations requiring hard labor.”8)

The following diagram summarizes what is commonly regarded as the primary risk factors for spondylosis:

A graph depicts six risk factors, i.e. age, spinal injury, back strain, obesity, unhealthy lifestyle and poor posture.

Figure 3: Risk Factors for Spondylosis 

Please note that, while scientific research can be relied upon to highlight correlations between risk factors and a particular condition or disease, that is still a long way off proving a certain risk factor actually causes that same condition or disease. And that applies to age just as much as any other risk factor.

Please also remember that research is a numbers game, so it’s vitally essential to grasp what the data is really saying. For instance, let’s say the statistics report you are three times more likely to develop spondylosis when someone in your close family has the condition. That’s worrying. But if the risk to the general population is only 1 percent, then your own (increased) risk is still only 3 percent!

4. So How Can You Stop or Prevent Spondylosis?


First of all, please don’t panic about getting old! As reported above, Liebscher & Bracht’s extensive research and practice evidence is quite conclusive: Most degenerative spinal conditions arise due to insufficient movement and/or movement, which is far too repetitive and one-sided for our own good. Therefore, it is much more likely that a spondylosis condition would be caused by muscular-fascial over-tensioning, resulting in a toxic muscular conflict capable of causing painful damage over the longer term.

The good news is you can stop all this yourself with our exercises against spinal wear — and all without painkillers or surgery. From a biological perspective, our body’s ability to use stem cells to grow new intervertebral disc cartilage is ready and waiting to begin the process of regeneration. All you need to unlock this precious resource is to commit to a much more varied pattern of daily movement and exercise! We prepared a handful of exercises for you to try at home. If you do them regularly, you can do your spine a lot of good.

To the exercises
Roland Liebscher-Bracht is performing a pain-free exercise.

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Roland Liebscher-Bracht is performing a pain-free exercise.

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All gain. No pain.

Join Over 7000 Subscribers Who Are Managing Pain Themselves.

Roland Liebscher-Bracht is performing a pain-free exercise.

Sign up for our free weekly newsletter and get interactive exercise videos and articles about pain management and health delivered to your inbox.

All gain. No pain.

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