Arthritis of the spine can occur in the cervical (neck), thoracic (mid-back) or lumbar (low back). It occurs in the small joints of the vertebrae called facet joints. As we age, these joints can enlarge and lose their protective cartilage. This causes pain. Arthritis of the spine has also been called, incorrectly, Degenerative Disc Disease. Degenerative Disc Disease is a breakdown of the disks between the vertebrae and is technically not true arthritis. Regardless, both of these condition cause pain and can be treated effectively with physical therapy, injections or surgery.