A bone spur diagnosis within the spine is an indication that a protrusion of excess bone has grown along the edge of a vertebra or a vertebra’s deteriorating facet joint. This extra bone material growth, also known as an osteophyte, is the body’s response to joint instability. Quite often, bone spurs remain asymptomatic. In some cases, the excess bone might produce a cracking sound during spinal movements. This sound is known as crepitus and is not usually a big problem. On the other hand, if an osteophyte makes contact with the spinal cord or a nearby nerve root, it could give rise to radiating pain, tingling, numbness or muscle weakness, symptoms that need to be diagnosed by your physician.
After a bone spur diagnosis is confirmed
In many cases, the first thing a patient wants to know after being diagnosed with spinal bone spurs is if there is any way to relieve the symptoms. In the immediate aftermath of a bone spur diagnosis, a physician will work closely with the patient to develop a treatment plan, usually consisting of a regimen of conservative, non-surgical methods. These methods could include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Exercise to strengthen back or neck muscles
- Stretching for improved spinal flexibility
- Behavior modification training with a physical therapist
- Applications of heating pads and/or ice packs
- Corticosteroid injections
Because no two cases are alike, a treatment plan will be specifically geared toward the individual’s unique requirements. Patience is crucial, because it may take a few days or even weeks to determine the right combination of treatment methods.
If surgery becomes an option
Many people might think surgery is the first option after a bone spur diagnosis, but the fact is, most spinal bone spur patients will never need to undergo surgery. Only if symptoms remain debilitating after several weeks or months of non-surgical treatment should a patient begin to consider surgery. If that becomes the case for you, contact Laser Spine Institute for a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan to determine whether you are a candidate for one of our minimally invasive, outpatient procedures performed using advanced, minimally invasive techniques.