What is Spinal Arthritis?
One of the more common forms of spinal arthritis would be osteoarthritis (OA). When you break down the meaning of the word you come up with its basic definition. “Osteo”, means pertaining to bone, “artho” relates to joints and “itis” represents inflammation or burning.
OA of the spine is a chronic disease involving the sum of its parts; bones, joints and inflammation. Your spine, especially your lumbar spine, supports a great deal of weight each and every minute of the day, which makes it considerably more susceptible to spinal arthritis. Osteoarthritis of the spine is marked by the destruction of joint cartilage, overgrowth of bone (spurs, stenosis) along with impaired function.
Osteoarthritis itself, is the most frequent type of all joint disorders. X-rays reveal the first signs of OA (although without any symptoms) beginning as early as a person’s 20’s and 30’s. Osteoarthritis becomes universal by age 70, with virtually no one escaping it on every level. Nearly all people by age 40 have some sort of discernable changes in the weight-bearing joints of their spine, although moderately few people have any symptoms at all. Men and woman are proportionately affected, but the beginning of spinal arthritis is undeniably earlier in men.
This disease is practically inevitable for all living creatures, as a result of aging. It is also a major contributing factor and/or cause of severe chronic disability, affecting over 10% of the population over the age of 60.
Oseoarthritis occurs in almost all animals with vertebraes, which suggests that it first appeared with the arrival of the bony skeleton. OA occurred in ancient animals, fish, reptiles, birds, mammoths, whales, dolphins and bears. The only mammals it is not seen in is bats and sloths, interestingly, animals that hang upside down.