Probably the most common
cause of back pain, osteoarthriits usually affects older people in
their fifties of sixties. It seems to affect women slightly more often
then men, and in addition to the joints of the spine usually also
affects the knees, hips, hands and feet. To start with there is usually
only one joint that suffers but as time goes by osteoarthritis can
spread to many parts of the body.
The main symptoms are stiffness and aching which develop as the
cartilage between the bones gradually gets thinner and thinner.
Eventually the bones end up rubbing on one another.
Osteoarthritis can be caused by excess wear and tear (in which
case it is practically indistinguishable from the problems often
caused by old age), but it can be inherited and may affect younger
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