“Arthritis” describes many different diseases that cause tenderness, pain, swelling, and joint stiffness. With osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, the cartilage around the joint wears out, causing the bones in the joint to rub together, creating inflammation and pain. Most forms of arthritis can occur in any joint, including spine joints. Osteoarthritis of the spine can lead to lost flexibility, bone spurs (osteophytes), irritated nerves, spinal stenosis, and sciatica. The terms spondylosis or degenerative joint disease are used interchangeably with osteoarthritis.
What is Arthritis?
Warning Signs of Inflammatory Arthritis
There are many forms of inflammatory arthritis; signs that are typical for most include:
- Pain, swelling and stiffness in one or multiple joints
- Morning stiffness in and around the affected joints lasting at least one hour
- Pain and stiffness that worsens with inactivity and improves with physical activity
- Reduced range of motion
- Sometimes fever, weight loss, fatigue and/or anaemia
What joints can be affected?
Any joint can be affected, but most commonly:
- Small joints of the hands and feet
- Wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees, lower back and hips