Text Size: A A A

Osteoarthritis Animation

How Spondylosis Affects the Spine

This video animation is designed to help you learn more about spinal osteoarthritis (also called spondylosis), a degenerative joint disease which can result in bone damage and a host of painful joint symptoms.

In normal joints, bones are covered with cartilage, a strong, flexible material which helps reduce the impact caused when you move, bend, or engage in other physical activity. In joints affected by osteoarthritis, there is a loss of cartilage. This can result in bones that are exposed and allowed to rub against each other as you move. Over time, this can lead to bone damage, or it can lead to bone spurs (excessive bone forms around a joint—they’re also known as osteophytes).

Osteoarthritis, in general, affects approximately 27 million people in the United States1, and it is the most common joint disorder2. It can affect any joint in the body, but it commonly affects those in the neck, hips, knees, and back. To learn more about spondylosis and the ways in which osteoarthritis affects the spine, visit our Spondylosis Center.

Many factors raise your risk for osteoarthritis. One of the biggest risk factors for the condition is age; as you grow older, natural wear and tear on your joints can lead to the breakdown of cartilage. More than half of people above the age of 50 have osteoarthritis3.

Besides age, other risk factors for the condition include gender (women are more likely to have osteoarthritis than men), obesity, some genetic conditions, circulation problems, and other diseases (such as diabetes). Additionally, you may be more likely to develop osteoarthritis if you have a job that requires you to kneel, squat, bend, or climb stairs for a more than an hour every day.

Osteoarthritis often starts slowly and progresses over time. Symptoms may be mild at first, and they may go away only to return at a later time. You may experience swelling and pain in the affected joints which can lead to a loss of mobility and flexibility, making everyday tasks difficult. You may also hear a crackling sound when you move affected joints. Morning stiffness—a loss of flexibility when you first wake up—is another common symptoms of spinal osteoarthritis. It usually goes away after about 30 minutes.

There is no cure for osteoarthritis. However, treatments can help you manage the condition and reduce painful symptoms. Surgery may be recommended for severe cases of osteoarthritis, but most people can be treated with medications or lifestyle changes.

Spondylosis treatment options include over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (like Tylenol), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (like aspirin), physical therapy, massage, and braces that support damaged joints. Lifestyle changes, such as home exercises to help you lose weight, can also help you manage your spinal osteoarthritis.

 References

  1. Osteoarthritis. Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT) Web site. National Institutes of Health. http://report.nih.gov/NIHfactsheets/ViewFactSheet.aspx?csid=55. Updated February 14, 2011. Accessed September 26, 2012.
  2. Osteoarthritis. National Institute for Biotechnology Information Web site. National Institutes of Health. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001460/ Updated September 26, 2011. Accessed September 20, 2012
  3. Taylor MT. My Neck Hurts! Nonsurgical Treatments for Neck and Upper Back Pain. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press; 2010.

Sources

  • Taylor MT. My Neck Hurts! Nonsurgical Treatments for Neck and Upper Back Pain. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press; 2010.
  • Osteoarthritis. National Institute for Biotechnology Information Web site. National Institutes of Health. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001460/ Updated September 26, 2011. Accessed September 20, 2012
Updated on: 11/01/12
Cancel
Delete