Can an Accident Trigger Osteoarthritis?

Dr. Jonathan Krant Health Guide
  • I am in my early 30s and recently was in a car accident. I had an X-ray and was told that the accident triggered osteoarthritis in my middle back. How is this possible?

    Despite an early age, traumatic injury to the thoracic spine has led to alterations of ligaments and tendons (and possibly bone) resulting in altered mechanics and regional blood flow in both vertebral bodies and the intravertebral discs. With loss of the cushioning provided by intravertebral discs in the back, thoracic vertebra are more inclined to grind against one another, with consequent increases in pain and stiffness in the involved area. As time progresses, the structural changes brought about by injury may progress to include adjacent regions of the spine, with generalized discomfort.
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    Important: We hope you find this general medical and health information useful, but this Q&A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. For all personal medical and health matters, including decisions about diagnoses, medications and other treatment options, you should always consult your doctor. See full Disclaimer.
Published On: September 13, 2006