DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Osteoarthritis. Coloured X-ray of the neck of a 45 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 edges and the neck has lost its normal curvature. This makes the neck stiff and painful. Osteoarthritis is a common joint disease that affects most people over the age of 60. More women than men are severely affected. It causes the cartilage between bones to break down, and also causes osteophytes (bony growths) to develop on the bones (pale lumps at left). There is no cure, although symptoms can be relieved with painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs, and physiotherapy.
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