Osteoarthritis of the neck. This arthritis usually occurs because of the age-related degenerative disease that develops in the neck joints and disks. All patients experience some wear and tear of the neck joints as they age but some have more severe damage causing significant pain and loss of function. As the arthritis develops there can be the development of bone spurs, or osteophytes. These bone spurs can irritate the nearby nerves, ligaments and muscles causing pain. Spondylosis is one of the most common causes of pain in the elderly.