Spinal osteophyte treatment options

The goal of osteophyte treatment is to relieve pain and restore lost mobility caused by an osteophyte, or bone spur, that is putting pressure on a nerve in the spine. Bone spurs develop in the spine usually as a result of increased friction between vertebrae caused by conditions like arthritis or degenerative disc disease. While they don’t always cause pain, an osteophyte can narrow the already tight passageways that the nerves travel through in the spine. If this results in nerve compression, symptoms can include localized pain, radiating pain, tingling, numbness and muscle weakness.

If these symptoms become chronic it can have a negative impact on your life. Once-simple activities, even taking your dog for a walk, can become difficult or impossible. However, treatment that can return you to an active life is possible and learning about the full range of osteophyte treatment options can help you work with your doctor to get the help you need.

Conservative osteophyte treatment

Many patients diagnosed with bone spur as the cause of their neck or back pain are able to manage their symptoms through a course of conservative treatments. It can take some trial and error to find the right combination of methods, but it is typical for a plan to include therapies to manage symptoms along with exercise and lifestyle changes to strengthen supporting an improve overall health.

Common treatments include:

  • Pain medication. Depending on the level of pain, over-the-counter medication or prescription medication may be recommended.
  • Rest. Intermittent periods of rest can help reduce inflammation.
  • Physical therapy. Recovering or increasing strength and flexibility in the spine is crucial and licensed physical therapist can plan exercises to strengthen muscles associated with the spine.
  • Epidural steroid injections. Cortisone can reduce inflammation and provide temporary pain relief; more than one injection is usually required.
  • Lifestyle changes. Engaging in better nutrition, posture correction and quitting smoking are all ways to improve overall health, which can have a positive impact on the spine.
  • Alternative methods. Treatment outside of the medical mainstream is often referred to as alternative. Methods can include chiropractic manipulation, acupuncture, herbal remedies and mindfulness meditation.

Surgical osteophyte treatment

If chronic pain persists despite weeks or months of conservative osteophyte treatment, a physician might recommend surgery as an option. Traditional surgery to treat nerve compression resulting from bone spurs involves a highly invasive procedure, followed by a long hospital stay and lengthy recuperation. Laser Spine Institute offers a minimally invasive outpatient surgical alternative to traditional open spine procedures. Our board-certified+ surgeons use state-of-the-art techniques to access the spine with a smaller, muscle-sparing incision. This means a lower risk of complications like infection and failed back surgery syndrome for our patients.

Contact Laser Spine Institute today for a no-cost MRI review* to see if you may be a potential candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute.