Osteophytes and Spine Pain

Osteophytes in the spine are bony projections that your body produces in an attempt to stabilize a progressively weakening neck or back. These growths, also called bone spurs, can appear in the facet joints, on the edges of the vertebrae or on the lamina, which is the thin “roof” over the spinal cord formed by the vertebral arches.

Osteophytes can limit the mobility of the spine

Many conditions of the spine, such as a herniated disc, will heal themselves over time. However, osteophytes are bony formations that will not dissolve or detach on their own, so conservative treatment methods can only offer temporary pain relief, not a permanent solution. When bone spurs do present symptoms, it is because the surrounding spinal nerves have become compressed by the extra bone growth. Spinal stenosis is a common result of bone spurs, and the condition entails the overall narrowing of the spinal column. Mobility can also decrease due to bone spurs of pain they can cause and the extra bone can limit joint movement.

What causes osteophytes in the spine?

There are a variety of reasons that the body’s osteoblastic (bone growth) process may start producing osteophytes in the spine, including:

  • Degenerative diseases, like facet joint syndrome
  • Obesity
  • Injury
  • An illness that weakens the spine
  • Overexertion
  • Osteoporosis

Treating spinal osteophytes

If an MRI or CT scan confirms a diagnosis of neural compression due to osteophytes in the spine, you should work with your physician to create a conservative treatment plan that includes prescription or over-the-counter pain medication, physical therapy, hot and cold compresses and mild stretching. For many patients, pain can be effectively managed and surgery will not be necessary. However, if your bone spurs produce chronic, unmanageable symptoms, you can seek more permanent, targeted forms of pain relief, such as surgery for osteophytes.

How Can Laser Spine Institute help?

Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive alternatives to traditional spine surgery. Our procedures have helped tens of thousands of people find relief from neck and back pain. Contact Laser Spine Institute today for your MRI review to determine candidacy for one of our minimally invasive procedures.