Three views of the head and neck in sagittal section showing the neck straight, in flexion and extension, and exhibiting how a bone spur presses on the spinal code during these movements.
Regardless of the region of the spine where they appear – lumbar, thoracic or cervical – bone spurs can be very common occurrences as you age. Also known as osteophytes, bone spurs are excess growths that your body produces in response to a number of factors, including aging, arthritis, disc degeneration, traumatic injury, poor posture, overuse or other reasons. Bone spurs can occur elsewhere in the body, but the three regions of your spine – lumbar (lower), thoracic (middle) and cervical (neck) – are common locations for bone spurs to develop. While many imagine bone “spurs” as sharp, pointy protrusions digging into nerves or other bones, they are actually smooth excess growths that, by themselves, do not cause any harm.
Severe issues arise when lumbar, thoracic or cervical bone spurs grow to the point that they impinge on nerves or other bones. This can result in a number of serious effects, including:
- Radiating arm and leg pain
- Weakness in the extremities
- Severe neck or back pain
- Restricted movement
If you’ve noticed any of the above symptoms and are wondering if lumbar, thoracic, or cervical bone spurs might be to blame, contact your physician. If an X-ray or other scan determines that bone spurs are the cause of the pain or other issues you are experiencing, there are a number of bone spur treatment options available. Some are as simple as rest or certain exercise regimens. Others are more involved, such as medications – including anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxers, and pain relievers – cortisone injections, physical therapy, and even bone spur surgery.
Many of the traditional surgical options for treating lumbar, thoracic or cervical bone spurs are invasive treatments that can leave you facing a long, often painful, recovery process. However, with the innovative, minimally invasive procedures offered by Laser Spine Institute, you can experience relief from the effects of bone spurs quickly, with a much shorter recuperation period and less chance of infection than some other treatment options. For a complimentary MRI or CT scan review, and to learn more about our state-of-the-art procedures and surgery centers, contact us today.