How spinal bone spurs and aging are related

Bone spurs, also called osteophytes, are protrusions of the body’s natural bone structure. These protrusions are created as a stabilizing response to continual stress and pressure applied to our bones. The spine is one area that is particularly prone to weakness after years of pressure and stress break down the joints and discs, often resulting in bone spurs. In fact, the natural aging process is the primary cause for bone spurs to develop.

Why bone spurs form

Our bodies typically 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 that lines the spinal facet joints also naturally deteriorates over time. When the cartilage breaks down, the vertebrae begin to rub against each other, causing increased friction between them.

Here are two of the specific age-related conditions that can lead to the development of bone spurs:

  • 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 condition causes the spinal discs 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 spine conditions are at greater risk for developing bone spurs. Speak with your doctor if you think bone spurs may be affecting your life. Many physicians will recommend a series of nonsurgical treatments like pain medication or physical therapy to reduce the pressure on your spine and relieve your symptoms.

If you’ve tried a full course of conservative 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 that is causing painful nerve compression.

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.

To help you find out if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures, ask for your no-cost MRI or CT scan review* today.