Spondylosis is a chronic condition affecting the spine. Osteophytes are laid down on the affected vertebrae, causing boney spurs to form. Over time the spurs can form bridges from one vertebrae to another.
The condition is at its most painful when the spurs are still growing as they press into the surrounding soft tissue. Once the spurs have formed the area itself is no longer painful but the spine becomes immobilised which means certain actions like twisting and turning are very uncomfortable, and muscular injuries from overcompensation are likely.
The cause itself is unknown, but it is thought to be hereditary, and more commonly develops in middle age. Wear and tear from an active life can affect it, as can trauma.
Symptoms include roaching of the back, tenderness when touching the affected area, inability to twist and turn in certain directions, difficulty jumping, and proprioception issues in the hind limbs.
As with most orthopaedic conditions, massage can’t affect the disease itself but can help by acting as a natural pain reliever, controlling the referred pain that is often felt in the hind limbs, addressing areas of overcompensation, and improving mobility and gait.