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Arthritis or spondylosis is a generic term that refers to degenerative changes of the spine. Just as other joints (e.g. hip, knee) in the body tend to degenerate over time, so too does the spine. This can manifest in multiple ways, including degeneration of the discs (the soft cushions that act as shock absorbers between your vertebrae), the facets (the joints that allow your spine to move), and soft tissues. As these degenerative changes occur, these structures can begin to compress on your spinal cord and/or nerves, causing pain in your neck or back as well as pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in your arms and legs. Treatment for arthritis depends on the amount and duration of pain and type of underlying problem, but can range from nonoperative (medications, physical therapy) to operative strategies.

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