Lower Back Arthritis

Lumbar spondylosis or arthritis is a degenerative condition of the low back that affects the discs and facet joints. It is a condition that develops from the wear-and-tear effects of aging. Lumbar spondylosis can be seen on x-ray in most older adults. It usually causes no symptoms. However, in some patients, lumbar spondylosis can cause back pain. In more serious cases, lumbar spondylosis can lead to compression of the nerves causing leg pain, numbness, and/or weakness (lumbar radiculopathy or lumbar spinal stenosis).


As we age, our spinal discs lose water content and degenerate, leading to disc space narrowing and bulging. The facet joints in the back also degenerate, leading to joint space narrowing. Genetic predisposition, obesity and smoking increase the risk of developing pain from lumbar spondylosis.

SymptomsX-ray of a neck with sponylosis.

  • Low back and/or buttock/thigh pain
  • Low back stiffness


Low back pain from lumbar spondylosis is usually treated by over-the-counter pain medications, weight loss, and physical therapy.

Schedule an Appointment

Please call 984-974-6800 to schedule an imaging appointment at the UNC Hospitals Imaging Center or 984-974-4200 to schedule a clinic appointment at the UNC Hospitals Spine Center.  Referrals are not necessary

Fax: 984-974-6740

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