OSTEOARTHRITIS OF THE SPINE
Osteoarthritis (OA) of the spine is a condition that usually occurs as a result of the natural aging process and is typically diagnosed after age 50. Possible causes that lead to the development of osteoarthritis include injury to the spine, wear and tear on the discs of the spine (often associated with obesity), or an inherited tendency to develop OA. Sometimes the cause is unknown. OA of the spine may cause pain and stiffness; and make it difficult to bend over, perform weight-bearing activities such as walking, and accomplish daily tasks such as dressing and bathing. Your physical therapist will help you manage your condition, lessen your discomfort, and resume daily activities more easily. Symptoms of OA of the spine vary from person to person and can range from mild to disabling. You may not have symptoms even though the condition is present. Its onset and progression can be quite slow. With early or mild disease, symptoms will be intermittent, or come and go. You might feel stiffness or aching after sitting a long time, on waking in the morning, or after vigorous activity. You or your family may notice changes in your posture. Some people will bend forward or shift to the side. With more advanced OA of the spine, symptoms will become more constant and tend to interfere more with your daily activity, especially with walking and standing.