Translated from the Greek, this word (“spondyl” + “osis”) should really refer to any disease process affecting one of the vertebrae, or the The individual bones that we call vertebrae, when joined together by several ligaments, make of the spinal, or vertebral column. more generally. It could, therefore, refer to infections, injuries, tumours or any other disease processes. In practice, its use is reserved to refer to degenerative, age-related changes. Doctors often use the term “arthritis”, to refer to spondylosis but this can sometimes cause alarm to a patient, who then fears the onset of more generalised arthritis. Whilst inflammation of the small joints in the spine is indeed part of the “wear and tear” changes of advancing years, it does not, by any means, indicate the onset of more widespread joint disease, elsewhere in the body.