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Answer to your Health Question


Hello! I am 16 years old, playing hockey and doing track and field.

I've been diagnosed with spondylosis at L5 and the doc suggests surgery.

He didn't explain what it is about and if I would be able to practice sports again

Thank you very much.



Dear Mechi,

Spondylosis is degenerative arthritis of the joints between the centra of the spinal vertebrae.

In this condition the interfacetal joints are not involved.

Lumbar spondylosis usually produces no symptoms. When back or sciatic pains are symptoms, lumbar spondylosis is usually an unrelated finding.

Surgery is indicated only for complications (eg, for impingement-documented sciatica that is unresponsive to 2 days of absolute bed rest) of lumbar spondylosis.

Most cases of spondylosis are mild and require little if any treatment.

The more common non-surgical treatments are:

-Bed Rest
-Cervical Traction
-Lifestyle Modification
-Muscle Relaxants
-NSAIDs: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
-Physical Therapy
-Spinal Injections

Seldom is Surgery Needed

Very few patients with spondylosis require surgery.

In most cases, non-surgical treatments work.

However, some patients suffer neurologic deficit - such as weakness, incontinence, or develop structural spinal instability.

The cause of severe symptoms often determines the type of surgery needed.

For example, it may be necessary to surgically remove bone spurs or disc tissue compressing spinal nerves or causing spinal cord compression.

Depending on the extent of the surgery, spinal fusion to stabilize the spine may be necessary. Fortunately, newer minimally invasive spine surgical techniques greatly benefit patients. Minimally invasive spine surgery enables patients to return to normal activities sooner.

We would not recommend playing hockey and doing track and field with lumbar spondylosis.

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