Almost ninety percent of low back pain can be attributed to cervical or lumbar spondylosis. Women are affected more than men. When the spongy discs between the vertebrae of the spine in the lower back degenerate, they become weak. This leads to a narrowing of the spinal column, which is what spondylosis refers to. The lumbar region bears the brunt of most of the body's weight, so with time everyone's vertebrae degenerate. In some people this causes pain and requires treatment.
Tingling in the legs or back caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve is indicative of lumbar spondylosis. Lower back pain and/or foot pain can also be a symptom. Pain caused by walking is a symptom. This is called neurogenic claudication. Standing still may actually be painful as well, which is an indicator that one has spondylosis instead of a similarly symptomatic condition called vascular claudication.
X-rays can show if there is a narrowing of the canal. Other tests that are performed are CT scans and MRIs. CT scans can reveal the shape of the spinal canal, hypertrophy of the ligmentum flavum and hernias of the discs. MRIs can show if there is foraminal narrowing or root impingement.
A few yoga poses and sequences can help lumbar spondylosis. Sun salutations, also known as Surya Namaskar A and B, are good for back strengthening and flexibility. The cobra pose, or Bhjangasana, stretches the lower back. The locust pose, or Shalabhasana, strengthens the lower back because it requires lifting one's upper and lower body off the ground from a prone position on the floor.
Physical therapy is often prescribed to relieve problems caused by lumbar spondylosis. Back extensions are used on patients who can tolerate them. The patient lies face down on her stomach and then slowly lifts only her upper body off the floor. The arms may be placed palms down under her chest to take some strain off the back muscles. If lying down is too painful, this exercise can also be done against a wall. The patient puts her hands against a wall, standing about a foot away, and bends back, using a combination of lower back muscles and arms.
Stretches to Avoid
Lying on the back and bringing the knees into the chest is an example of a common lower back stretch that flexes the spine. This is not recommended for people with lumbar spondylosis. Bending down to touch one's toes from a standing position is also not recommended. Reaching for the toes while sitting can be problematic, too.
Carrying around excessive weight can cause lumbar spondylosis. Spending much of the day seated can also be a contributing factor. An injury or trauma to the back can also contribute, as can genetic factors.