Symptoms of Arthritis of the Spine

Typical Symptoms of Spinal Osteoarthritis

The full range of symptoms that typically occur with spinal arthritis includes some combination of the following:

    • The back and/or neck stiffness and pain tend to be worse in the morning (particularly for about 30 minutes after waking up), often called “first movement pain.”

See Stiff Neck Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

    • The pain will usually subside to a more tolerable level over the course of the day as the person carries on his or her activities.
    • Pain and stiffness tend to get worse again in the evening.
    • Pain that disrupts sleep is often an indicator of osteoarthritis.

See Addressing Pain and Medical Problems Disrupting Sleep

    • Swelling and warmth in one or more joints, particularly during weather changes (which may be related to barometric pressure changes and cooling of the air).
    • Localized tenderness when the joint or affected area of the spine is pressed.
    • Steady or intermittent pain in a joint, which is often described as an aching type of pain. The pain may be aggravated by motion.
    • Loss of flexibility of a joint, such as inability to bend and pick something off the floor.
    • A crunching feeling or sound of bone rubbing on bone when the joint is moved (called crepitus), particularly notable in the neck.

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