The primary arthritic spine conditions are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis or joint disease. It is often referred to as “wear and tear” arthritis, as it occurs when the protective cartilage within the joint wears down over time. With spinal osteoarthritis, cartilage between the discs and joints in the back and neck wear down.
The condition is commonly found in older adults but can also be found in younger people who have an injury to a joint or a cartilage-based genetic defect.
Osteoarthritis can lead to:
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory condition that occurs when your body's immune system begins to attack healthy cells and tissue. Unlike the “wear-and-tear” damage of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of your joints, causing a painful swelling that can lead to bone erosion and joint deformity.
The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown and there is currently no cure. It typically affects adults over the age of 40, and is more common in women than men.
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