Five things you need to know about spinal bone spurs

A spinal bone spur can lead to pain and other symptoms that can inhibit your ability to lead a normal day-to-day life. Fortunately, there are treatment options that can help you to find relief and return to regular activity.

What is a spinal bone spur?

A bone spur can appear anywhere in the body where, due to an injury or degenerative condition, bones begin to rub against each other. If this occurs with the vertebrae in the spine and a bone spur forms, the results can be both painful and annoying. Here are five important tidbits that can help you to better understand spinal bone spurs:

  1. Spinal bone spurs are most often the result of the natural degeneration the spine undergoes as it ages, which can cause the cartilage between the spine’s joints to wear away. They can also develop after traumatic injuries.
  2. When bone rubs against bone, the body often starts to build up calcium deposits in the area to protect the affected bones. This is how a bone spur forms.
  3. Spinal bone spurs often don’t produce any symptoms. However, when a bone spur puts pressure on a spinal nerve root or the spinal cord, symptoms may appear.
  4. Symptoms can include localized pain, pain that radiates down a nerve path to the extremities, numbness, tingling and muscle weakness.
  5. To diagnose a spinal bone spur, your physician will likely review your medical history, perform a full physical exam and have you undergo an imaging procedure such as an X-ray or MRI.

Spinal bone spur treatment options

Once a spinal bone spur diagnosis has been made, your physician will probably suggest a daily treatment regimen that includes a combination of conservative options. These can include stretching and strengthening exercises to reduce the strain on the spine, pain and anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and steroid injections. If you attempt a conservative treatment regimen and are still experiencing painful symptoms after several months, your physician may suggest surgery as an option.

At Laser Spine Institute, our minimally invasive spine surgery is often the clinically appropriate first choice and provides many advantages versus open neck or back surgery.^ If you are interested in receiving more information about the outpatient surgery we offer for the treatment of spinal bone spurs and many other degenerative spine conditions, contact us today.