Conservative bone spur treatment or surgery — which is best for me?

If you’re trying to find the spinal bone spur treatment most appropriate for your condition, working closely with your doctor is key. Many treatment methods are available but finding the right ones for you can be a challenge. Factors like your age, overall health, the cause of your bone spurs and the severity of your symptoms should all be considered in deciding the best course of treatment.

In most cases, doctors will begin treating symptoms related to spinal bone spurs with conservative treatments, leaving surgery as a last-resort option. In trying to decide between conservative bone spur treatment and surgery, it is important to make sure the full range of nonsurgical options have been explored.

What does nonsurgical bone spur treatment involve?

Spinal bone spurs are smooth growths of bone that are the body’s natural response to increased joint friction. Symptoms are typically caused when these growths narrow the spinal nerve passages and compress nerves. The goal of nonsurgical bone spur treatment is to relieve these symptoms by easing pain and trying to take pressure off the spine. Some examples of the most common treatments for spinal bone spurs include:

  • Low-impact exercise to strengthen core muscles that help support the spine
  • Stretching techniques to relieve pressure in the spine that could affect the spinal cord or nerve roots
  • Chiropractic adjustment to temporarily bring the spine into better alignment and relieve nerve compression
  • Acupuncture to reduce pain
  • The use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxers or pain relievers
  • Alternating use of hot and cold compresses
  • Lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, losing weight and improving posture

Often, a nonsurgical approach to treatment can take several weeks or months to be effective. A degree of trial and error should also be anticipated to find the right combination of methods for you. During this time you should follow your doctor’s instructions to ensure the best chance of finding long-term symptom relief.

Knowing when to consider surgery

Surgery can start to become a serious option if weeks and months pass without conservative bone spur treatments bringing the improvement you need for the activities of daily life. Like nonsurgical therapies, there are different types of surgical procedures to consider and it is important to explore all of your options.

At Laser Spine Institute, our board-certified surgeons+ specialize in minimally invasive spine surgery to treat bone spurs and other conditions. Our outpatient procedures use muscle-sparing techniques and offer our patients a reduced risk of complication compared to traditional open spine surgery.

Learn more by reaching out to our team of Spine Care Consultants today. We’re pleased to offer a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan* to help you find out if you may be a candidate for one of our procedures.