Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis is characterized by a tendency toward ossification of ligaments. This ossification leads to tortuous paravertebral mass anterior to and distinct (at least radiologically) from the vertebral bodies. DISH is a completely asymptomatic phenomenon; no alterations are detectable based on history or through physical examination.
Muscle stiffness, knee and elbow pain, Loss of range of motion, difficulty in swallowing are the most common symptoms. Usage of drugs like acetaminophen, NSAID?s, cortico-steroid injections can help in treating the condition. Practice of physical therapy can help in reducing muscle stiffness.
The posterior longitudinal ligament of the cervical spine is ossified in 2% of Japanese individuals but in only 0.16% of white persons. The anterior longitudinal ligament is calcified in 24% of patients with posterior longitudinal ligament ossification. Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) was reported in 17% of individuals in the Netherlands, paradoxically with male predominance. Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis is present in approximately 19% of men older than 50 years but is found in only 4% of women in this age group.