What Is Osteoarthritis And What Are The Common Causes Of Osteoarthritis Pain?

Dr. Doris Cope answers the question: 'Causes Of Osteoarthritis Pain?'

ByDoris K. Cope, M.D., Professor and Vice-Chairwoman of Pain Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
November 21, 2008, 10:18 AM

— -- Question: What Is Osteoarthritis And What Are Some Of The Most Common Causes Of Pain Associated With Osteoarthritis?

Answer: Osteoarthritis is the price you pay for growing old. If you look at a young tree like a sapling, it's very tender, it can bend in the wind, it can turn without breaking. An old gnarly tree is like an old gnarly spine. Pain comes because this old gnarly spine has to have nerve roots going to the rest of the body, particularly the buttocks, the legs, the feet, and these nerves get pinched because the spine becomes overgrown. Also, the discs become dried out; the discs are the spaces, the rubber balls, between the spine, which cause a person as they age to become shorter. If you slept on a pillow for 80 years, it would become flattened, it would become hard, it would become dry, and you would become shorter, and it would not cushion your body as well as a soft, fluffy, new pillow.

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