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Is spondylosis a cause of disability?

Updated April 17, 2017

A degenerative condition affecting the neck, chest and lower back, spondylosis may cause people to become partially or completely disabled and incapable of performing the activities of daily living. Anyone who experiences pain, tingling, numbness or difficulty flexing and extending their neck, arms or legs should receive a neurological examination to rule out spondylosis.

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Spondylosis may result in the following disabilities: constant neck pain; radiating pain; reduced range of motion in the neck, chest or lower back; muscle weakness; and difficulty with bladder control.


In establishing treatment regimens, doctors consider that most cases of spondylosis can be treated conservatively, but more serious cases require surgery. Severe forms of spondylosis may cause an individual to lose muscle function and sensation.


According to the Mayo Clinic, cervical spondylosis is also known as "cervical osteoarthritis." Spondylosis is sometimes referred to as "spinal osteoarthritis."


Spondylosis causes disability through its degenerative effects on the disks along the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spines. The degeneration promotes inflammation, which causes pain, and decreased moisture in the disks, which ultimately leads to loss of strength in the ligaments.


Spondylosis is most common in the cervical spine (affecting the neck), the lumbar spine (at the lower back) and the thoracic spine (near the chest).

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About the Author

Michele Vrouvas

Michele Vrouvas has been writing professionally since 2007. In addition to articles for online publications, she is a litigation paralegal and has been a reporter for several local newspapers. A former teacher, Vrouvas also worked as a professional cook for five years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Caldwell College.

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