Spondylosis: All you need to know
The spine curved, not straight, and the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar parts of the spine contain 24 bones known as vertebrae.
Between these vertebrae are joints that allow the spine to move flexibly. These are called the facet joints.
Also, soft, rubbery tissue called intervertebral discs separate the vertebrae. These consist of cartilage endplates and a tough exterior, the annulus fibrosus, surrounding an inner core, the nucleus pulposus.
Intervertebral discs help achieve smooth movement, and they cushion against any impact on the bones.
As a person ages, the discs become drier, thinner, and harder, and they lose some of their cushioning ability. This is why an older person is more likely to have a compression fracture of the vertebra than a younger person.
A vertebral compression fracture results from bone collapsing in the spine. It commonly occurs with osteoporosis.
The facet joints between the vertebrae also function less well with age because of wear and tear on their cartilage surfaces.
As the cartilage erodes, the bones start to rub together, causing friction. This can result in the formation of bony growths, called bone spurs.
The loss of rubbery tissues and the development of spurs make the spine stiffer. Back movement also becomes less smooth, and friction increases.