Bone spurs and the aging process

Bone spurs, also called osteophytes, are protrusions of the body’s natural bone structure. These protrusions are created in response to continual stress and pressure applied to our bones.

The spine is weakened after years of pressure and stress break down the joints and discs, often resulting in bone spurs. In fact, the natural aging process of the spine is one of the most common causes for bone spurs to develop.

Why bone spurs form

Our bodies sometimes create bone spurs in the neck and back as a natural, self-protective response to stress and friction. This becomes necessary when the discs between vertebrae deteriorate, allowing vertebrae to rub directly on each other. Cartilage between the vertebrae also naturally deteriorates over time, wearing down as we age. When the cartilage breaks down, the vertebrae begin to rub against each other, creating stress and pressure on the bones of the spine.

There are several spine conditions that can lead to the development of bone spurs. Some of these primary conditions are a result of aging, including:

  • Osteoarthritis — This degenerative disorder results in the loss of cartilage on joint surfaces. Symptoms include inflammation and pain, which can vary in severity. As the cartilage between joints is diminished, the body sometimes creates bone spurs to compensate.
  • Degenerative disc disease — This spinal condition causes the discs between vertebrae to become thinner and more fragile over time. This allows vertebrae to move closer together and eventually leads to bone-on-bone friction. Bone spurs develop to compensate for the weakened cartilage and increased friction. Common symptoms are pain, stiffness, numbness and tingling, which may worsen while sitting.

The next step to find treatment for bone spurs

Patients who have degenerative spinal conditions are at greater risk for developing bone spurs. Speak with your primary care physician or a back specialist if you think bone spurs may be affecting your life. Many physicians will recommend a series of nonsurgical treatments, like pain medication and physical therapy, to reduce the pressure on your spine and alleviate your symptoms.

If you’ve tried several treatment options for spinal bone spur pain but haven’t found sufficient relief, contact Laser Spine Institute for information about our minimally invasive spine surgery. Our minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures offer patients a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery. We can help relieve the pain of bone spurs by removing the growth and decompressing the pinched nerve that is causing your pain.

Because of our minimally invasive approach to the spine, our patients can experience a shorter recovery time^ and lower risk of infection than patients who choose to undergo traditional open spine surgery.

For more information about our minimally invasive procedures and how we can treat bone spurs, contact Laser Spine Institute today and request a review of your MRI or CT scan.