Patients suffering from any symptoms like back pains, neck pains, vertigo etc. when walk into my OPD, my first question to them is "what is your problem?". Usually I expect answer like "Doctor, I have neck pains or I have vertigo." Rather, most of the times, I get answer like "Doctor, I have spondylosis".
Now, if we ask the same question right now to each other, most of us do not know the meaning of the word "spondylosis". We need to get acquainted to such complex words which have rather simpler meanings which we do not know.
Spondulus in greek means vertebra. When the english word "osis" is added to it, by convention it means "ageing of vertebra" or "ageing of spine".
Now consider a scenario. We have 100 healthy people who belong to age group from 20 to 70 years. Neither of the patients have any symptoms like back pains or neck pains. If we obtain radiographs of spinal column of all the people, at least 50% of them will show, signs of ageing, on radiographs. But in fact, none of them had any symptoms.
This proves that spondylosis is age related changed in spinal column and structure of individual vertebra. These changes are seen at each decade of life. If we compare radiograph of 30 years old person with one 50 years old, then 50 years old person's spine will look older on radiograph than the former one. Now, If we compare the same 30 year old persons radiograph, with 20 years old person, then the former is going to look older. In short the term AGEING is always RELATIVE. (age group specific) Everyone has it!!!
From the above example, its clear that ageing does not always produce symptoms like pains, but yes, extreme ageing can!!
How to avoid ageing ?
Its difficult. No one can avoid ageing. But of course, we can delay ageing by following certain rituals.
Exercises help in building muscle mass and strength which in turn helps in, effectively sharing the weight bearing process of body along with spinal column. More the weight sharing performed by muscles, less is the weight born by spinal column and less is the process of wear and tear occuring in spinal column. Regular exercises is effective way of delaying the process of ageing and in turn slowing the process of spondylosis.
We need to take precautions to avoid "excess ageing" with the help of health habits like proper regular exercises, balanced nutrition and of course timely diagnosis and treatment of symptoms of ageing.
Further information about normal structure of spine and nerve in future blog.