Osteoarthritis of the neck, X-ray

Osteoarthritis of the neck, X-ray

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Credit: DR P. MARAZZI/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Osteoarthritis. X-ray of the neck of a 74-year-old woman with osteoarthritis. Healthy cervical (neck) vertebrae (spinal bones) should be well spaced with smooth edges. Here, however, the arthritic vertebrae are close together with rough and ragged edges. This makes the neck stiff and painful. Osteoarthritis is a common joint disease that affects most people over the age of 60. It causes the cartilage between bones to break down, and also causes osteophytes (bony growths, not seen) to develop on the bones. There is no cure, although symptoms can be relieved with painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs, and physiotherapy.

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