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Osteophytes Normal at Age 38?

After obtaining a chest X-ray (due to repeat respiratory illiness), it was noted on the report "small osteophytes noted along the spine.  Mild degenerative change of the spine".  I am wondering if at my age (38), this is normal or is this something I need to look into.  I have had increased back pain (on and off) in the chest area and lumbar area over the past year with numbness in my foot.  I have had repeated respiratory/sinus issues over the past three months and have had out of range white blood cell counts for over a year.  I have a family history of arthritis (osteoarthritis for my mother at 45 yr. old, rheumatoid arthritis for my aunt at 36 yrs. old).  

I do have Chiari Malfornia w/ syrinx (C2-C6) and have had two decompression surgeries.  I have post operative nerve pain associated with that (arms, neck, shouldars) and have been treated for occipital neuralgia.

Is the osteophyte developement at my age normal?  I am unsure what type of doctor (if any) that I should see regarding this issue.

1 Responses
Avatar universal
How are you feeling?
Yes osteophytes development and its incidental finding is normal at this age.
Osteophytes are bone sours which is normally body response to weakening ligament and bony structures due degeneration due to age and over use. Due to this normal response, osteophytes develop to give extra strength to the bony structure for its stability. But this response is generally harmful to the patient.
Since degenerative joint conditions are characteristic of athletes and the aged, osteophytes are common in those with sports related injuries or arthritis.
Though not a source of pain by themselves, these may create pressure on any of the nerves that branch out from the spinal column to result in painful and sometimes debilitating medical conditions.
I think you should be seeing an orthopaedician at the earliest and get imaging study done to see the extent of injury.
Keep me informed if you have any queries.
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