What is Spinal Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the most common chronic condition affecting the joints. This condition, sometimes called degenerative joint disease, can affect joints throughout the body, including the knees, hips, hands, and spine. Spinal osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage in the joints and discs (which rest between the vertebrae) of the neck and lower back breaks down causing chronic spine and back pain.
Because spinal osteoarthritis causes the spine to become unstable, sometimes the body generates growths called osteophytes, or bone spurs, to naturally re-stabilize the spine. Unfortunately, these spurs exert pressure on spinal nerves leading to another painful condition called spinal stenosis.
Causes of Spinal Osteoarthritis
As with many painful conditions affecting the spine, the risk of developing spinal osteoarthritis increases with age. It is more common in people over the age of 50. The older we are, the more wear and tear our spine has been subjected to. Besides aging, other common causes of spinal osteoarthritis include:
- Being overweight or obese
- Being a woman
- Having a family history of arthritis
- Experiencing a significant injury or trauma to the spine
- Developing certain infections or diseases such as gout, diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis