How do spinal bone spurs develop?

Your body may produce a bone spur to help fortify your spine if it becomes weakened by degeneration. A spinal bone spur is nothing more than a smooth bony deposit that forms on a damaged vertebra or facet joint. Spinal arthritis — which is a consequence of the natural aging process — is the most common cause of spinal degeneration.

Why is a spinal bone spur a problem?

Spinal arthritis causes facet joint cartilage to break down and wear away, which can lead to bone-on-bone contact. A bone spur is your body’s protective response. While not problematic on its own, excess bone will naturally take up space in your spinal canal, where it can potentially irritate or compress a spinal nerve. A pressured nerve can produce a range of uncomfortable symptoms, including pain, muscle weakness, numbness and tingling sensations.

Of course, you can’t halt or reverse the age-related changes occurring in your body, but there are some steps you can take to help reduce the wear-and-tear on your spine. It’s important to protect your spine, because continuing stress can accelerate the effects of spinal degeneration and, as a result, may contribute to the development of a painful bone spur.

How to reduce wear and tear on your spine

There are several steps you can take to improve and maintain the health of your spine. For instance, you may be able to prevent the development of spinal bone spurs by:

  • Exercising regularly, which can strengthen the muscles that support your spine
  • Achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight (your spine must support your body’s weight, so even a few extra pounds can take a significant toll over time)
  • Consuming a well-balanced diet that includes sufficient amounts of essential nutrients, such as calcium, which is a building block of strong, healthy bones
  • Learning and practicing good posture
  • Avoiding body positions and movements that involve bending, twisting or otherwise straining your spine

Spinal bone spur treatment

If you are diagnosed with a spinal bone spur that causes painful symptoms, you may have several treatment options. Initially, your physician may recommend physical therapy, medications or other conservative remedies. Then, if you are unable to find meaningful relief within four to six weeks, you might begin to explore spine surgery.

If you are interested in surgical bone spur treatment, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about the benefits of our minimally invasive spine procedures. As a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery, our outpatient approach offers many advantages, including a shorter recovery and lower risk of complications.^ To help you determine if you are a candidate, we can provide a free MRI review.*