The major clinical symptoms of osteoarthritis are pain and discomfort in movement. Onset of symptoms is usually gradual.
Radiological osteoarthritis of the spine is quite common, but very often there are no symptoms.
It can affect three areas of the spine:
1. Cervical osteoarthritis is almost constant on X-rays after the age of 40 years. It can be asymptotic for a long time. It sometimes manifests itself by a stiff neck and painful spots accompanied by neck pain (sore neck) that can become chronic (ongoing pain for more than 3 months) accompanied by acute flare-ups following trigger factors.
Chronic forms thus manifest themselves by pain that is exacerbated with movement and exertion. This pain can extend between the shoulder blades and radiate to the shoulders.
2. Dorsal osteoarthritis. It manifests itself by pain in the middle of the back. It can also cause chest pain and pain when breathing or touching the back.
3. Osteoarthritis of the lumbar spine. This is the most common spinal location. The pain may be present every day, but become stronger during activities or prolonged static positions. Flare-ups are possible, often causing more severe symptoms that rest cannot completely alleviate.
Joint stiffness comes later. The evolution can lead to long-term discomfort in walking, with pain disappearing within minutes after stopping.