Laurie's Blogs.


Aug 2012

Spondylosis Pontifications

Hi Laurie,


I am loving the website!  It is just exactly what I need to continue my education in rehab.  Thanks!


Question #1

Listening to one of your lectures- you were saying that decreased movement in the lumbar vertebrae might make you suspect spondylosis, and that made me think a little.  I was always taught that spondylosis was not painful.  But now I wonder about that.   I feel often that dogs with spondylosis have painful backs and I get reactive muscle twitches.  Do you think that the spondylosis plays no role in that or is it contributing to the pain because the joints aren’t moving like they should?  I’m not sure it is a very good question because you can’t really fix the spondylosis anyways, but I have just been wondering about this. 


Thanks again so much.




Hi K!


Thank you so much for your comments!


So here are my thoughts on spondylosis:


It makes sense to me that spondylosis is a response to hypermobility (and in particular excessive extension forces +/- lateral motion as well).  I believe the body utilizes ’bone’ to stabilize the area.  Soooo - there may be some back pain that precipitates the spondylosis and/or as the back is spondylosing it is uncomfortable... but once it IS spondylosed, it is not painful.

The areas of pain AFTER spondylosis have set in, are the adjacent segments that still have motion.  They have to take on extra work-load to make up for the lack of action in the spondylosed segments.


My plan of attack for dogs that have hypermobility in their backs (excessive mobility i.e. border collies, or post-partum bitches, or obese dogs, or deconditioned dogs) is to work on their abdominal strength in FUNCTIONAL ways.  I do not see any sense of putting a dog on a ball sideways and getting it to do sit ups.  Rather, all sorts of balancing practice, 3-leg stands, diagonal leg stands, standing on two cinderblocks as they move farther and father apart slowly... (all while stimulating/facilitating the abdominal muscles), and or treadmill work (walking backwards, or with front feet on a ball/peanut and back legs on the treadmill), cavaletties, down hill walking, backing up....

I’d also treat any pain in the back with laser or acupuncture specifically.


It’s a great question... and might show up on the blog one day in fact!  (Honestly, this is why I enjoy the questions... it give me so much content to share!!)


Thanks for your question and all the best to you!!