Bone spurs in the spine

Though spinal bone spurs affect many people who are middle-aged or older, they are sometimes misunderstood. People often imagine that bone spurs dig into nerves or other tissue with sharp, pointed edges. In reality, bone spurs, or osteophytes, are actually smooth outgrowths of bone that are not necessarily painful. They can develop due to many factors such as aging, disc degeneration, arthritis, poor posture or traumatic injury. Bone spurs are a natural response to bone-on-bone friction to provide structural stability in joints and other areas of the body.

If spinal bone spurs do cause symptoms, the resulting pain and limited mobility can severely disrupt your life, making it difficult to engage in normal activity. Learning more about spinal bone spurs, especially the treatment options, can help you and your doctor develop a care plan with the best chance of getting you back to the life you’ve been missing.

Symptoms of spinal bone spurs

While spinal osteophytes often develop without causing any harm, they can sometimes press against the spinal cord, a spinal nerve root or other bone, causing a number of uncomfortable symptoms, including:

  • Severe, localized pain in the neck or back
  • Pain that radiates into the arms or legs
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Weakness in the extremities
  • Tingling and numbness

If you are experiencing any of the above bone spur symptoms , imagery like an X-ray or MRI can help determine if spine bone spurs are the cause. If your physician determines that you are, in fact, suffering from nerve compression caused by a bone spur, he or she can help you determine the best treatment option. Bone spur treatments generally begin conservatively and can include pain medication, cortisone injections, physical therapy or even surgery.

When surgery becomes an option

Many surgical options for treating spine and marginal bone spurs involve painful, lengthy recovery processes. But, the state-of-the-art, minimally invasive procedures performed at Laser Spine Institute can help relieve the symptoms of spinal osteophytes with a shorter recuperation period^ and have lower infection rates than traditional open spine surgery.

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