As arthritis develops in the spine and cartilage deteriorates, the ends of facet joints become exposed and begin to rub directly against each other causing bone spurs to form. These spurs are small, irregular bone growths, also known as osteophytes, generally found in arthritic or damaged bones. Over time, the bone-on-bone friction caused by arthritis narrowing the spaces between the vertebrae makes osteophytes form not only on facet joints but may also form around the edges of the vertebrae. Although arthritis can be painful, osteophytes do not necessarily cause pain and are a normal part of aging. They may, however, become so sizeable that they cause irritation or nerve compression. Osteophytes are the body′s attempt to return stability to the joint. However, this enlargement of the normal bony structure in reality signifies degeneration of the spine. This attempt at repair can be worse than the damage itself. The solution is often to surgically remove them and replace the damaged cartilage discs.
If you are experiencing back pain due to arthritis of the spine and possibly forming bone spurs, the physicians at AOK Spine and Pain can provide treatment methods that will bring you pain relief and have you living a normal, active lifestyle again.