Participation in sports is one of the leading causes of spinal bone spurs

Frequent participation in sports is one of the most common contributing spinal bone spur causes. While it is difficult to predict if a person will develop neck or back problems from playing sports, these activities can potentially speed up the natural deterioration of spinal anatomy. This is why chronic neck and back problems are frequently seen in athletes. Effective treatment of bone spurs, or osteophytes, is typically focused on managing symptoms through conservative therapies, although surgery is sometimes considered to physically remove these growths.

Why does participation in sports often lead to bone spurs?

Generally speaking, bone spurs can be caused by participation in sports in two ways:

  • In the aftermath of a traumatic injury, such as a fracture, bone spurs are often naturally formed as the body’s attempt to compensate for a perceived lack of bone density in the region. This can lead to long-term problems in the years that follow the fracture and athletes can often feel the effects of the injury many years after the break has healed.
  • Repetitive bending, twisting, lifting or jarring movements can often fast-track spinal deterioration because of the wear and tear these activities cause in the spine. For instance, golfers are often prone to back problems because of the burden that a full golf swing has on the spine. Football and hockey players are also highly at risk for spinal degeneration like bone spurs.

Most often, these growths develop because the deterioration from playing sports has contributed to the breakdown of cartilage that lines vertebral joints, leading to the formation of osteoarthritis. Once joint cartilage has been depleted, the body responds by growing excess bone spurs to protect the joint, but sometimes they press on surrounding tissues, causing pain and other discomfort.

Bone spur treatment options

In a large number of cases, the symptoms of spinal bone spurs can be managed with a course of conservative nonsurgical treatment. However, for some, surgery is considered to physically remove the bone spurs. Many athletes are particularly anxious to address their bone spurs in hopes of continuing their active lifestyles. At Laser Spine Institute, we offer minimally invasive spine surgery that can be used to address spinal arthritis and bone spurs. By using muscle-sparing techniques, our board-certified surgeons+ can perform these procedures on an outpatient basis, offering many advantages to our patients. Contact us today to learn more.

We can provide you with a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.