What Is Lumbar Spondylosis? Why Does It Occur?

Lumbar Spondylosis

Back pain, especially pain in the lower back is common in women of all ages. 

If low back pain occurs frequently or persists, it is important to find out the underlying causes. 

Lumbar spondylosis is a common disorder known to cause chronic back pain. If not detected and treated properly, it may progress and the pain can interfere with your quality of life.

People should find out why they are experiencing back pain and seek medical intervention to slow the progression of this condition.

Let’s learn about lumbar spondylosis; what it means, its symptoms, and causes.

What is lumbar spondylosis?

Lumbar spondylosis is a chronic progressive degenerative condition affecting the vertebral column. It usually affects the intervertebral discs between adjacent vertebral bodies in the lumbar or the lower region of the backbone. [1] [2]

The incidence of lumbar spondylosis is higher in women than men. The risk increases with age. Let’s have a look at the factors that make women prone to develop lumbar spondylosis. [3]

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Why is lumbar spondylosis more common in women?

1. Pregnancy-related changes 

Lumbar spondylosis might be common in women due to the extra pressure exerted on the muscles and bones of the back during pregnancy. The change in the curvature of the spine during pregnancy can occur due to the larger tummy size. 

The growth of the baby in the uterus increases the abdominal girth considerably in the later months of pregnancy. As a result, the curvature of the spine in the lumbar region increases to help women maintain their balance. The change in the lumbar curvature helps to shift the center of gravity of the body in order to adapt to the physical changes. 

These changes exert considerable strain on the muscles and bone tissues in this region and there could be damage to the vertebral bodies and intervertebral discs. This may trigger the development of lumbar spondylosis in women. [4] [5]

2. Hormonal imbalances

Fluctuations in the levels of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone can make the bones weak. The decline in the production of estrogen in women after menopause can accelerate bone loss. 

As a result, the bones become spongy and porous. These changes in the vertebral bodies of the lumbar region can cause them to fall on each other resulting in the compression of the vertebral column. These changes can worsen the wear and tear of the lumbar vertebrae leading to the development of lumbar spondylosis. [6

3. Age-related changes

The risk of lumbar spondylosis increases as a person ages. The ability of the body to form new bone cells is also reduced. The rate of regeneration of the bone tissues becomes slower than the rate of bone loss. 

These degenerative changes in the bone recycling can contribute to the development of lumbar spondylosis. In women, these degenerative changes may occur at an earlier age due to hormonal changes. 

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4. Lack of nutrition

A lack of adequate nutrients can make women more prone to develop lumbar spondylosis. A deficit of calcium and vitamin D-rich foods in the diet can prevent the formation of new bone cells by the osteoblasts. 

As a result, the bones become weak and more susceptible to degenerative changes. Women are advised to increase their intake of calcium and vitamin D in order to strengthen the bones and joints and reduce the risk of lumbar spondylosis. [7] [8]

Some other risk factors for lumbar spondylosis include: [9]

  • Obesity or weight gain can result in an additional load on the joints of the back leading to lumbar spondylosis.
  • Women having a history of trauma, falls, or a hip injury are more likely to develop lumbar spondylosis. 
  • Poor posture can contribute to the development of this condition. Bad posture while sitting, standing, sleeping, or walking can put extra pressure on the back leading to degenerative changes in the lumbar vertebrae.
  • Sedentary habits can increase the risk of lumbar spondylosis. Lack of adequate physical activity could result in obesity. It may cause stiffness of the muscles in the back. These changes can trigger faster degeneration of the lumbar vertebrae thus increasing the risk of spondylosis. 
  • Women having familial predisposition are more prone to develop this condition. 

What are the signs and symptoms of lumbar spondylosis?

  • Chronic low back pain [10]
  • Muscle stiffness in the back
  • Inability to get up without support
  • Restriction movement in the back
  • Sciatica, the sharp shooting pain that originates in the back and radiates down along the backside of the legs
  • Paralysis if the nerves arising from the lumbar region of the spinal cord are compressed or damaged

Effective strategies women can adopt to minimize the symptoms of lumbar spondylosis

If your work requires sitting for several hours at a stretch, make sure you take frequent short breaks to stretch the back

  • Maintain correct posture while sitting, sleeping, standing, and walking
  • Push heavy objects, do not pull them
  • Make sure your back and neck are well supported while sitting upright
  • Wear flat shoes to avoid strain on the back muscles 
  • Sleep on a firm mattress to keep the spine straight
  • Do not twist while lifting heavy objects
  • Increase your intake of foods containing calcium and vitamin D
  • Stop smoking
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Consult a physician if the pain persists. The physician may recommend tests like X-rays, CT scans, or MRI to confirm or rule out the diagnosis of lumbar spondylosis


Lumbar spondylosis is often ignored. People believe back pain to be an inevitable part of aging. However, if not treated properly, degenerative changes in the lumbar spine can progress. This can result in considerable restriction of movement and severe pain that can limit physical activities. It may result in serious complications such as sciatica and even paralysis. 

People suffering from chronic back pain should seek the advice of a physician to diagnose their lumbar spondylosis. Appropriate treatment and adopting healthy lifestyle habits can help to slow down the progress of lumbar spondylosis and help people stay active. 


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2697338/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3913732/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25509797/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3971625/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20930629/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5133758/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5112341/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4190421/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19468872/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2697338/

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