"Arthritis" describes many different diseases that cause tenderness, pain, swelling, and joint stiffness. With osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, the cartilage around the joint wears out, causing the bones in the joint to rub together, creating inflammation and pain. Most forms of arthritis can occur in any joint, including spine joints. Osteoarthritis of the spine can lead to lost flexibility, bone spurs (osteophytes), irritated nerves, spinal stenosis, and sciatica. The terms spondylosis or degenerative joint disease are used interchangeably with osteoarthritis.

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a type of arthritis that primarily affects the back (spine) and produces pain and stiffness.

People who have spinal osteoarthritis or degenerative disc disease are more likely to develop bone spurs on their spines.

Bone spurs represent an enlargement of the bony structure and are a sign of spinal degeneration (aging). Over the age of 60, bone spurs are quite common.

Over time, the lumbar facets may degenerate, become weak, or be subject to repetitive trauma, causing them to become a significant source of lower back pain.

Neck osteoarthritis (sometimes referred to as cervical spondylosis) is a condition where pain in the neck or shoulder usually gets worse as the day goes on and gets better with rest.

Explore common conditions that cause bone spurs (i.e. osteoarthritis) and common symptoms (i.e. radiating pain in the shoulders).

Learn about the common tests for diagnosing bone spurs including EMG, radiographs, and CT scans.

The medical diagnosis for spinal osteoarthritis usually includes a discussion of symptoms, a detailed medical history, and a physical exam.

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