Six tips for long car rides with a spinal bone spur

A spinal bone spur, or an osteophyte, is a smooth, bony growth that develops over the top of a regular bone. Most commonly, the growth of a bone spur in the spine is triggered by friction within the facet joints, the joints in the spine that allow for bending and twisting. When this friction occurs, the body may develop calcium deposits in the form of bone spurs in an attempt to strengthen the normal bone and better withstand the wear and tear. While not always symptomatic, bone spurs can cause compression of the nerves and nerve roots in the spinal canal, leading to complications in day-to-day life.

Enduring long car rides with a bone spur

If you are dealing with a bone spur and are preparing for a long car ride, here are six tips that may help you manage your pain and make your trip more comfortable:

  1. Take your prescription or over-the-counter pain medication in advance so it can begin working before you get in the car. If you are the driver, be sure that your medication will not impair your ability to drive safely.
  2. Before you leave, plan to stop as frequently as possible — ideally every 30 minutes — to get out of the car and stretch in order to promote good circulation and loosen stiff muscles.
  3. Practice good posture while in the car. This includes sitting up straight with your knees slightly above your hips.
  4. Bring any pillows or cushions that can provide additional support for your spine.
  5. Bring ice packs along to reduce inflammation and numb pain. Most drug stores sell instant ice packs for one time use, although reusable ice packs may also be brought along when stored in a cooler.
  6. Apply heat to your back to relax surrounding muscles. This can be done by using heated seats, if the car you are traveling in has this feature, or by bringing a heating pad and power converter to plug into the car’s dashboard power source.

Bone spur treatment at Laser Spine Institute

If you have undergone several weeks or months of nonsurgical treatment for a bone spur but have not found lasting relief, surgery may be necessary to control your symptoms and improve your quality of life. At Laser Spine Institute, our board-certified surgeons+ perform minimally invasive outpatient procedures as a safer and effective alternative^ to traditional open spine surgery. Our dedication to minimally invasive procedures has helped more than 75,000 patients reclaim their lives from neck and back pain since 2005.

To find out if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive procedures, contact Laser Spine Institute today and request a no-cost MRI review* from our team.