Three common signs of spinal bone spurs

Bone spurs are tiny, smooth projections of calcium that can grow from bones in any area of the body, including the spine, knee, hip and shoulder. Known medically as osteophytes, bone spurs usually develop as a result of friction in the joints where two bones meet.

Signs of a bone spur in the spine

Many people with spinal bone spurs never experience noticeable symptoms. Others may have bone spurs that irritate the spinal column and nearby nerves, sparking pain and immobility that can disrupt everyday life. While the severity of symptoms depends on the size of the bone spur and where it is situated in the neck or back, there are a few basic indicators that a bone spur may be present. Here are three of the most common:

  1. Headaches and radiating pain in the shoulders, arms and hands, in the case of a cervical spine (neck) bone spur
  2. Radiating pain in the buttocks and thighs, if the lumbar spine (lower back) is affected
  3. Dull pain in the neck or lower back that worsens when standing or walking

If you have noticed any of these signs, be sure to promptly consult with a physician regarding your treatment options. If left untreated, bone spurs may grow larger and cause symptoms to worsen.

Treatments for spinal bone spurs

Once a physician has confirmed the presence of a bone spur in the spine, a number of treatment approaches may be suggested based on the patient’s symptoms, active lifestyle and several other factors. Many patients can find significant relief from bone spur symptoms through conservative (nonsurgical) techniques, including:

  • Prescription or over-the-counter pain medications
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Routine stretching and gentle exercise
  • Physical therapy
  • Corticosteroid injections

Some patients also explore alternative therapies to help manage bone spur symptoms. While not recommended as a primary form of treatment, chiropractic care, acupuncture and yoga may increase comfort and mobility in certain cases.

Patients who cannot find relief from symptoms through conservative or alternative treatment methods may be candidates for surgery. While traditional open spine surgeries are associated with large incisions and lengthy recovery periods, Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive surgical alternatives that require a less than 1-inch incision, reducing scarring and surgical blood loss.^ Our highly skilled surgeons perform more minimally invasive, outpatient procedures each month than any other spine surgery provider in the world.

To discover if you are a candidate for minimally invasive surgery at Laser Spine Institute, contact us for a no-cost MRI review.*