What Causes Arthritis in the Neck?
The causes of arthritis in the neck are varied. In general, cervical spondylosis develops from normal wear and tear over time. The discs in the cervical spine gradually break down, lose fluid, and become stiffer. This problem results in a collapse of the disc space and loss of disc space height.
As the disc space decreases there is an increased pressure on the facet joints; this increased pressure leads to degeneration and the development of arthritis. The facet joints have a smooth, slippery articular cartilage that covers and protects the joints from wearing away. If the articular cartilage wears away completely it can result in bone rubbing on bone. To compensate for the lost cartilage, the body may respond by growing new bone in the facet joints to help support the vertebrae. Over time, this bone overgrowth, known as bone spurs, may narrow the space for the nerves and spinal cord to pass through leading to spinal stenosis.