Preventing and treating osteophytes
An osteophyte is a condition that can affect the spine where a small, round nub of bone forms near the vertebrae. Osteophytes, also called bone spurs, usually develop as the layer of cartilage on the facet joints — the joints that connect the vertebrae in the spine — wears down and allows the bones to rub against each other.
Although the main cause of osteophyte development is the natural aging of the spine, there are several simple lifestyle changes you can take to increase your overall spine health and possibly prevent this condition. These changes can include:
- Avoiding high-impact sports and activities
- Exercising regularly to strengthen your core muscles
- Maintaining a healthy weight to reduce excess pressure on the spine
- Eating a healthy diet to make sure you are consuming plenty of vitamins and minerals
- Not abusing alcohol and/or tobacco
Osteophyte treatment options
While these osteophyte prevention tips can help increase your overall spine health, they do not guarantee that you will not develop the condition. If you begin to experience the symptoms of bone spurs, schedule an appointment with your physician. There are many nonsurgical and surgical treatment options that can help relieve the pain and discomfort of osteophyte growth.
The first step for treatment is often conservative therapy, which aims to reduce the pressure from the bone spur on a nearby nerve and also to block the pain receptors along the nerve pathway. This can be accomplished through several types of nonsurgical treatment, including:
- Physical therapy
- Pain medication (over-the-counter and/or prescription)
- Chiropractic care
- Exercise and weight loss
- Massage therapy
- Yoga and stretching
If these treatments do not offer you lasting pain relief after several months, you may be a candidate for the minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute.
We offer two types of spine surgery: minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization, both of which are an outpatient alternative to traditional open spine surgery. We can treat bone spurs by removing the pressure of the bone spur on the pinched nerve through a minimally invasive decompression surgery. In some more serious cases, bone grafts may need to be added to increase spinal stability through our minimally invasive stabilization surgery.
For more information about how you can find relief from pain caused by osteophytes with our minimally invasive spine surgery, contact us today and let us provide you with a free MRI review.* This will help us find out if you’re a candidate for our outpatient procedures.