top of page
  • Writer's pictureHelen

Understanding your X-RAY

When you visit the GP for neck and back pain there is a chance that you will be sent for an X-ray. When receiving the results of the X-ray there may be some medical terminology on the form that you’re not familiar with and might sound complicated, even scary but trust me there’s really nothing to be worrying about. This blog post will aim to give a brief overview of the different types of degenerative changes your X-ray may show.

There are many different terms used for degeneration, something that we as health care professionals classify into the ‘Sondy’ group. There are 4 types of degenerative changes your X-ray might show you and this blog will aim to put your mind at ease.

Spondylosis: the most basic and easiest of them all. Essentially this is wear and tear of the spinal bones, a type of osteoarthritis most likely bought on by the natural ageing process or by your lifestyle.

Stenosis: This is where there is a narrowing of the space where your spinal cord sits. The pain is generally around the neck or the lower back. Some people can be born with this whilst others develop it through natural degeneration.

Spondylolysis: At the point your spinal joints (facet joints) meet your spine there is an area of bone which is named the nterarticularis. This condition is when there is a small defect to that piece of bone, generally a small separation. It mainly affects the lower part of your back and can affect one side or both sides. If this condition worsens it can develop into Spondylolythesis

Spondylolythesis: This is the most serious of the ‘Spondys’. Essentially it is where one vertebrae (spinal bone) slips over the top of another. It is more common women over the age of 50 and is most likely to affected the lower 4 levels of the lumbar spine. It can start in childhood due to repetitive movements within sport mainly lower back extension but symptoms may not show until later in life. This condition can be graded to identify the amount the bone has slipped, this is something to be discussed further with your GP.


As physiotherapists although we are unable to stop degeneration taking place and sadly we cannot reverse what has already occurred we can help you manage your symptoms and pain. Alongside the advice of your GP for pain relief physiotherapy can help manage both pain and symptoms of spinal degeneration with massage, stretching, joint mobilisations (if appropriate), strength and conditioning as well as advice on activity modification for both work and at home.

If you believe you have these degenerative changes or you have an X-ray results you’d like to talk through here at Choice Physio Limited we’d be more than happy to help.

Useful references:

Accessed for help with this article 06/02/2019

287 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page