If you are experiencing pain from a bone spur and considering neck surgery, it can be helpful to understand what exactly causes bone spurs and what surgical treatment entails. These bone growths aren’t as much of a “spur” as they are a smooth growth of bone that typically develops along a joint as part of the body’s skeletal repair mechanism.
Bone spur development
Over time, the anatomy of the spine begins to gradually deteriorate. The intervertebral discs that pad the spine thin and become weakened, and the facet joints – the hinge-like structures between the vertebrae – become worn and at risk for arthritis. Bone spurs, also known as osteophytes, are created by the body as a way to repair damaged bone. The problem is that bone spurs most frequently form in degenerated joints, and it can become painful if these growths come into contact with a nearby nerve, another bone or other soft tissue.
Treatment of bone spurs is required when the osteophyte is causing pain or has compressed a nerve and led to muscle weakness or other symptoms in the shoulders, arms or hands. In most cases, the symptoms of a bone spur can be managed without neck surgery but rather through common conservative treatments, including:
- Lifestyle changes – losing weight to remove pressure on an affected nerve; working with a physical therapist to develop correct and targeted exercise and stretching techniques; receiving deep tissue massages to the affected area; improving posture to reduce stress on the neck; and more.
- Treating the symptoms – resting your sore neck; using ice to reduce swelling or heat to increase blood flow; taking muscle relaxants to reduce inflammation and pain medication to alleviate neck pain.
Another alternative to traditional neck surgery
If several months of conservative treatments have not provided you the relief you require, you may be considering your other treatment options, such as surgery. If this is your situation, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about our minimally invasive, outpatient procedures for treating bone spurs. For more information on these effective alternatives to invasive traditional bone spur neck surgery, call today.