What is a bone spur and how is it treated?

Even though a bone spur is a very common condition, especially among the middle-aged, the diagnosis can be a little frightening. As we get older, growths of excess bone can develop in certain areas of the body, but many cases go unnoticed because they don’t produce any symptoms. However, when bone spurs develop in the spine, this excess bone growth can produce painful side effects because the bones are so close to the nerves of the spine.

If a bone spur presses on a neighboring nerve root, noticeable symptoms can develop, including pain, numbness, tingling, weakness and restricted movement. That is why it is important to take a moment to research what this condition really means and what treatment options are available to you to help reduce your pain. To learn more about bone spurs, including the causes and treatments for this condition, read the following article.

Causes of spinal bone spurs

You may want to know what caused your spinal bone spur growth in the first place. In many cases, age is the root cause of a spinal bone spur. As the body ages, it may produce bone spurs to help stabilize the joints in the spine that have weakened from normal wear. The weakening of spinal joints can occur if joint cartilage begins to deteriorate, causing the body to compensate with bone spur growth — a condition called osteoarthritis.

This condition may also occur in the spine along with the gradual weakening of the spinal discs that cushion the vertebrae. Aside from the natural aging process, traumatic injuries can also result in the growth of bone spurs, which is the body’s natural response to joint instability. Events like car accidents or high-impact sports put stress on the spine and can lead to bone spurs. When spinal bone spurs press against a nerve root or the spinal cord, it can cause symptoms to develop in the neck or back.

Treating spinal bone spurs

If you have been diagnosed with a bone spur that is also compressing a nerve, your doctor may recommend nonsurgical treatment as the first line of defense. This type of treatment can include hot and cold therapies, pain management injections and chiropractic care. Doctors often recommend physical therapy and yoga to increase flexibility and strengthen the muscles around the affected area.

If you haven’t achieved your pain relief goals through several weeks or months of conservative care, bone spur surgery could provide you with lasting relief from chronic neck or back pain. At Laser Spine Institute, we offer minimally invasive procedures to relieve the pain caused by spinal bone spurs. Through a free MRI review,* we can determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our bone spur procedures.

Depending on your diagnosis, our board-certified+ surgeons may be able to perform a minimally invasive decompression surgery using one of the following procedures:

  • A laminotomy, which can create additional space in the spinal canal when a bone spur has developed on the surface of a normal bony structure and is crowding the canal
  • A discectomy, which can remove a portion of herniated or bulging disc material to release the pressure on a nerve root or spinal cord
  • A foraminotomy, which can be used to remove bone spurs and other tissues that are causing nerve compression inside the space between two vertebrae
  • A facet thermal ablation, which is performed most often in conjunction with a decompression procedure and can be used to deaden a nerve ending inside an arthritic spinal joint

If your spine condition is more severe, our minimally invasive stabilization techniques can provide relief and immediate stability. For more information about your bone spur or the minimally invasive outpatient procedures we offer, contact Laser Spine Institute to speak with a member of our dedicated team today. We are here to help guide you on your journey to wellness.