How to recognize the signs of a spinal bone spur

A bone spur is a small outgrowth that develops on the surface of a bone, typically as a result of friction in an arthritic joint. These spurs can develop on any of the bones throughout the body, including the vertebrae that make up the spine. Bone spurs themselves do not cause symptoms; however, if one of these growths compresses a nerve root or the spinal cord, it can result in a variety of symptoms.

Recognizing the symptoms of a bone spur

The first step in recognizing the signs of a bone spur is being familiar with the symptoms it can produce when it compresses a nerve, which include:

  • Stiffness or instability in the spine
  • A grating or popping sound when the affected joint is engaged, called crepitus
  • Intermittent or chronic pain at the location of the compression
  • Pain, numbness, tingling or muscle weakness that extends out to an extremity

When any of these symptoms occur, it is important to consult with a physician for an accurate diagnosis. These symptoms may indicate a spinal bone spur or another spinal condition that needs to be treated.

Addressing bone spur symptoms

In many cases, it is possible to manage symptoms with a conservative, nonsurgical approach. Hot and cold compresses, pain medications and stretching exercises can help minimize symptoms. Additionally, making certain lifestyle adjustments, such as losing weight and improving posture, can help reduce symptoms caused by bone spurs.

For individuals with more severe symptoms caused by spinal bone spurs, it may be necessary to consider surgery to address the problem. At Laser Spine Institute, our minimally invasive spine surgery has helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from neck and back pain. Our highly experienced, board-certified surgeons+ treat many different spinal conditions, including bone spurs and arthritis.

If you would like to learn more about bone spur symptoms and treatment options, contact Laser Spine Institute today for a review of your recent MRI or CT scan, at no cost, * to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.