When to consider neck surgery for a cervical bone spur

If you are experiencing lasting pain from a bone spur and considering neck surgery because conservative options have not brought relief, it is important to make a well-informed decision. This is why it is helpful to get a better understanding of your condition as well as all of the surgical options available.

Bone spur development

Bone spurs are smooth growths that develop as part of the body’s natural attempt to reinforce and stabilize damaged bone. These occur in the spine frequently, due to the flexibility of the spine combined with the weight it supports.

Over time, the anatomy of the spine begins to gradually deteriorate due to a combination of aging and every day usage. The discs that cushion the vertebrae weaken and the facet joints that link them become worn and at risk for arthritis. Although bone spurs are a natural repair mechanism and not painful by themselves, they can narrow the spinal nerve passages and put pressure on nerves, causing debilitating symptoms.


Bone spurs in the upper spine can cause local pain as well as tingling, numbness and weakness in the arms and hands. For many patients, the symptoms of a bone spur can be managed without neck surgery but rather through conservative treatments, including:

  • Lifestyle changes. This usually includes healthy choices like improving your diet, getting regular exercise, working with a physical therapist to improve range of motion and improving posture to reduce stress on the neck.
  • Pain management. Methods to relieve pain include resting your sore neck, using ice to reduce swelling or heat to increase blood flow, getting a therapeutic massage and taking anti-inflammatory medication.

Another alternative to traditional neck surgery

If a full course of conservative treatments have not provided you the relief you require, surgery can start to become a serious option. If this is your situation, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about our minimally invasive outpatient neck surgery for treating bone spurs. Our procedures are a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery, offering no lengthy recovery due to our muscle-sparing techniques.^

For more information and a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you may be a candidate for one of our procedures, reach out to our dedicated team of Spine Care Consultants today.