Arthritis and Osteoarthritis Health Center
The term arthritis describes many different diseases that cause tenderness, pain, swelling and stiffness of the joints. With osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, the cartilage around the joint wears out and causes the bones in the joint to rub against each other, creating inflammation and pain. Most forms of arthritis can occur in any joint in the body, including the joints in the spinal column. Osteoarthritis of the spine can lead to lost flexibility, bone spurs (osteophytes), irritated nerves, back pain or spinal stenosis, and sciatica symptoms. Sometimes the terms spondylosis or degenerative joint disease are used interchangeablely with osteoarthritis.