Osteoarthritis is a condition in which the cartilage that protects and cushions the joints breaks down over time. Eventually, the bones-formerly separated by the cartilage-rub against each other. This results in damage to the tissue and bone and causes painful joint symptoms.
Osteoarthritis is common in the joints of the spine, including the small facet joints and the large joints between the vertebrae.
The lower picture also shows flattened discs. This is a common part of aging in which the discs that cushion the bones of the spine lose fluid and can develop tiny cracks. When discs flatten, there is less space between the bones. This can make osteoarthritis worse and can also pinch the nerves that are near the spine.
Current as of: August 5, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine Stanford M. Shoor MD - Rheumatology
Medical Review:Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Stanford M. Shoor MD - Rheumatology