CNRI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CNRI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Bony spurs in neck, coloured X-ray. Bony spurs (osteophytes, left) grow from the vertebrae as a normal part of the aging process. They stabilise the spine when the discs of cartilage (red) between the vertebrae shrink and become less flexible. Spur growth is called cervical spondylosis. It is found in 25-50% of 50-year- olds and at least 70% of 75-year-olds. It may not cause any problem at all. However, it can lead to various conditions including stiffness of the neck, painful trapped nerves (radiculopathy), and cervical spondylitic myelopathy, where the spinal cord is compressed, leading to a loss of sensation and muscle control in the limbs.
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