Is bone spur surgery my only treatment option?

If you have been diagnosed with spinal bone spurs, you may be wondering if bone spur surgery is your only treatment option. While surgery can be used to remove these excess bone growths — also known as osteophytes — to help relieve your neck or back pain, your doctor will likely recommend a series of nonsurgical treatments first to try to relieve your symptoms without resorting to surgery. Before you discuss treatment options with your doctor, research some background information on bone spurs and bone spur removal options so you can play an active role in the conversation about your treatment.

What is a bone spur?

As you age, bone spurs are a common occurrence that can spring up at multiple locations in your body. However, these bone growths are frequently misunderstood. The term “spur” leads many people to believe that osteophytes are sharp, pointed growths. Actually, bone spurs are smooth growths that do not necessarily cause any problems. They can develop for a number of reasons, such as aging, arthritis, spinal disc degeneration, traumatic injury, poor posture, overuse and more. When these excess bone formations compress a nerve or other bone, that’s when problems can arise and bone spur removal may become necessary.

What treatments are available other than bone spur surgery?

Bone spurs along the spinal column can cause some serious complications. For instance, osteophytes, at any location along your spinal column, can cause severe neck and/or back pain, restricted movement, radiating arm and leg pain, weakness in the extremities, numbness and, in some cases, disability.

If your physician has concluded that bone spurs are the cause for any of these symptoms you’ve been experiencing, there are a number of bone spur treatment options you can choose from. Some are as simple as medications — such as painkillers, anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxers — while other bone spur treatments involve physical therapy, weight loss, exercise and rest. However, some bone spurs require more involved treatments, such as surgery for bone spur removal.

Traditional surgical treatments are invasive open back procedures and they typically require lengthy, painful recovery processes. However, Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive bone spur removal procedures that can give you relief from the painful symptoms of bone spurs with a much faster recuperation time^ and less risk of infection than traditional open back surgery. To learn more about our state-of-the-art treatment options, surgery centers and patient care programs, contact us today.