While spondylosis typically involves osteoarthritis of the spine, the term also is used as an umbrella term for several types of spinal degeneration. Cervical spondylosis affects the neck; lumbar spondylosis occurs in the lower back; and thoracic spondylosis affects the middle back. The term “spondylosis” actually has evolved into more of a descriptive term than an actual diagnosis. Basically, it indicates both pain and degeneration of the spine, regardless of the cause of the pain or the origin of the degeneration. For example, the pain could come from facet joint osteoarthritis, which causes pain during intense activity or following long periods of inactivity. Or, it could result from spinal stenosis, which is an abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal that often causes leg pain. It could also result from degenerative disc disease, which causes pain in the lower back, neck, legs and/or arms. One important note about degenerative conditions: if an MRI or CT scan shows evidence of spondylosis, the patient should not assume that the degeneration is causing the pain. The degeneration may simply be a natural result of aging and may not actually be causing any pain. Treatment of spondylosis is usually relatively conservative and may include lifestyle changes, administration of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and physical therapy to restore range of motion, strength, and flexibility. In severe cases, surgery may be recommended.