What are some of the risk factors for spinal bone spurs?

Bone spurs can develop from a series of risk factors, but the most common cause of these small growths is the natural weakening of the spine.

As the spine ages, small nubs of bone may form near the vertebrae and facet joints — the joints that allow the vertebrae to hinge — in an attempt to help strengthen areas where the spine is weakening. This often happens if a facet joint has developed spinal arthritis (osteoarthritis) and begun wearing down. The small bone spurs, or osteophytes, will form near the joint to help stabilize and support the vertebrae.

Other causes and symptoms of bone spurs

As mentioned above, bone spurs are often formed over years of spinal deterioration, usually caused by repetitive motions and weight gain that wear down the components of the spine. Some other common causes of bone spur development include::

  • Genetics — inherited traits
  • A history of injury — whiplash or compression fracture
  • Nutrition — obesity or malnutrition from poor eating habits
  • Poor posture — slouching while seated or slumped shoulders while standing

While some of these risk factors cannot be controlled, such as age and genetics, other factors can be changed to improve your overall spine health and reduce your risk of developing bone spurs.

Symptoms of bone spurs

Although bone spurs usually remain small and unnoticeable, they can sometimes grow large enough to press against a nerve in the spine. When this happens, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Pins-and-needles sensation
  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness or tingling

These symptoms can extend from the spine into the nearby arm or leg, depending on the severity of the nerve compression.

Treating bone spur symptoms

The first step to treating bone spur symptoms is to schedule an appointment with your physician to diagnose your condition and discuss the treatment options available to you. Oftentimes, conservative treatment is the first option for pain relief. This type of treatment could include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Pain medication
  • Yoga and stretching
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Chiropractic care

These methods could be combined to expedite your pain relief. Your physician should be in charge of monitoring your treatment and pain relief to help maintain your safety.

Minimally invasive spine surgery

Because conservative treatments only focus on the symptoms of bone spurs and not treating the condition itself, patients sometimes have to wait several months before any lasting pain relief is felt. If after several months of nonsurgical treatment you have still not reached your pain relief goals, you should research the minimally invasive spine surgery offered at Laser Spine Institute.

Our minimally invasive spine surgery treats bone spurs by removing the bone spur altogether and treating the weakened part of the spine. For many patients, this means a decompression surgery to simply remove the bone spur. However, for some severe cases, this could mean a stabilization surgery to replace a damaged joint or disc after the bone spur is removed.

If you are experiencing chronic pain caused by bone spurs, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more about how our minimally invasive spine surgeries can help you find relief. We can provide you with a free MRI review* to help determine whether you’re a candidate for our procedures.