Bone spur causes explained

Bone spurs can be caused by many underlying factors. Also known as osteophytes, these excess bone growths are created by your body as a stabilizing response to bone-on-bone friction. These growths aren’t painful themselves, but can put pressure on spinal nerves, causing symptoms that range from mild to debilitating. If you are suffering from bone spur-related pain to the point where it’s affecting your ability to do even basic activities, educating yourself about the risk factors and causes of bone spurs can be beneficial. This information can help you and your doctor make a treatment decision with the best chance of getting you back to a healthy, active life.

Primary bone spur causes

While there are many conditions that can lead to the development of spinal bone spurs, possibly the biggest underlying factor is the natural aging process. As we age, our bodies don’t stay as well hydrated making connective tissue brittle and leading to the bone-on-bone contact that causes bone spurs to develop. Here are some specific conditions that cause bone spurs, including:

  • Disc degeneration. Degenerative disc disease is an accelerated deterioration of the spinal discs that occurs due to aging. Bone spurs can develop as discs shrink and vertebrae come in contact with one another.
  • Spinal osteoarthritis. This is a joint disorder that causes the cartilage between joints to wear away, leading to bone spurs.
  • Traumatic injury. Car accidents and impacts from physical sports like football can contribute to spinal bone spurs.

Simple practices can keep your neck and back healthy and can help you avoid common bone spur causes. For instance, by performing stretching routines and improving posture, you can increase the strength and flexibility of your neck and back.

To further educate yourself, take a few moments to read the information our experts at Laser Spine Institute have provided on this website. Learning more about bone spur symptoms can be especially helpful as this knowledge can help you and your physician accurately diagnose the cause and location of your pain.

Bone spur treatments

Upon diagnosing an osteophyte causing nerve compression, most doctors will recommend a course of conservative treatment options. Basic methods your physician might recommend include rest, exercise, weight loss, physical therapy and medications. The goal of this initial treatment is to relieve pain and improve mobility enough for patients to regain normal activity.

Surgery is usually considered if weeks and months of conservative therapy do not bring relief from chronic symptoms. Traditional open spine surgery is usually seen as a last resort treatment because of the large incision, risk of complication and long, often painful, recovery period involved with these procedures. However, the minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery performed at Laser Spine Institute is an alternative, offering a much shorter recovery time^ and less risk of complication than these traditional open back procedures.

Contact us today for a no-cost MRI review* to see if you may be a candidate for one of our procedures.