Bone spurs FAQ | frequently asked questions

If you’ve developed spinal bone spurs, Laser Spine Institute can help you understand your diagnosis. Below, we provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive from our patients.


Q: What are spinal bone spurs?

A: Spinal bone spurs — also called spinal osteophytes — are small outgrowths of bone that develop on the vertebrae. Despite the name, they are fairly smooth and not sharp or jagged.

Q: What causes them?

A: Bone spurs are related to the spine’s natural aging process. With age the spinal joints begin to dry out, becoming brittle and prone to wear. This leads to arthritis as the joints become inflamed from increased bone-on-bone contact. Bone spurs develop as the body’s natural attempt to stabilize the joint from the added friction.

Sometimes, bone spurs can be caused by physical trauma, like from contact sports or an auto accident. Smoking, carrying excess weight and maintaining poor posture can also place people at a higher risk for developing a bone spur.

Q: What are the symptoms?

A: Bone spurs don’t always cause symptoms. Pain and other issues typically occur as a result of nerve compression by the bone spur. These symptoms include:

  • Pain in the neck or back
  • Radiating pain, numbness or weakness in the extremities
  • Restricted movement

Q: What are some treatment options?

A: If your bone spur is causing any of the above symptoms, your doctor may recommend a combination of treatments. The most commonly used options include pain or anti-inflammatory medications, rest, hot and cold compresses, physical therapy and at-home exercise. For many patients, these treatments provide enough relief for a good quality of life without the need for surgery.

Q: Will I need surgery?

A: You may be recommended to consider surgery if weeks or months of conservative treatment do not sufficiently improve symptoms.

If you are being recommended for surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute before you consent to a highly invasive traditional open spine procedure. Our minimally invasive spine surgery has helped more than 60,000 patients find relief since 2005, offering an outpatient experience with a shorter recovery time than traditional open neck or back surgery.^

To learn more and find out if you may be a candidate for one of our procedures, reach out to our dedicated team today for a no-cost MRI review.*