How to treat bone spurs

As we age, bone spurs become more likely to form in our bodies. Bone spurs, or osteophytes, are common extra growths of bone that can occur throughout the body, including in the spine, and can cause significant pain. Bone spurs often arise as a side effect of rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. Spinal arthritis is commonly known as osteoarthritis of the spine.

Each vertebra of your spine is linked to adjacent vertebra via spinal discs and cartilage-lined facet joints. With age, the cartilage within facet joints degrades, exposing the bone beneath. This lack of smooth, protective cartilage around joints can make even the simplest movements extremely painful.

What are bone spurs?

Bone spurs are extra bone produced by the body in an attempt to repair itself in the presence of cartilaginous breakdown. Bone spurs are not pointed, however, as the name would imply. Rather, they are smooth overgrowths around the joint surfaces. Despite the body’s intention, bones spurs do not help strengthen the spine; instead, they may delay spinal nerves as they exit the spinal column between the vertebrae and cause nerve compression. Nerve compression causes symptoms such as tenderness, throbbing, limited range of motion, and abnormal stiffness of the joints.

What treatment options could be prescribed?

Treatment of spinal nerve compression caused by bone spurs often begins conservatively with rest, exercise, stretching, physical therapy and epidural steroid injections. None of these treatments remove bone spurs, but rather the treatments reduce nerve inflammation and pain. Therefore, the underlying cause remains, and pain and other symptoms can eventually return.

If you have developed bone spurs and your pain does not improve, or it returns, after attempting conservative treatments, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about our minimally invasive spine surgery. Our minimally invasive spine surgery is often the clinically appropriate surgical first choice and provides many advantages versus open neck or back surgery. Our outpatient, minimally invasive decompression, and in severe cases, stabilization procedures, can remove bone spurs in the spinal column, thereby allowing nerve inflammation to resolve. Contact us today and allow us to review your MRI report or CT scan to determine if you are a candidate for one of our innovative procedures.