Understand your bone spur treatment options

By Michael Perry, M.D.

A bone spur is a small growth that can occur on the perimeter of your bones, usually in joints where two bones meet. While most bone spurs in the body cause no symptoms, bone spurs in the spine can result in local and radiating pain. This is because the spinal canal is so narrow and in such close proximity to the spinal cord and its nerve roots that even a small disturbance like a bone spur can compress a nerve and cause debilitating pain.

If you have been experiencing pain or stiffness in your spine for longer than a week, and simple at-home remedies are not relieving the pain, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor to determine if a bone spur has developed in your spine. If your doctor diagnoses you with a bone spur, there are several treatment options available to help alleviate and manage your pain.

Treatments start as simply as conservative therapy and progress to surgical solutions. It is important that you determine which treatment option is best for you and your lifestyle. As you read through the available treatment options for your bone spur condition, please feel free to contact Laser Spine Institute with any questions. Our Care Team is ready to help you find relief for your neck and back pain.

Conservative bone spur treatment

Conservative treatment options should almost always be your first choice when treating a spine condition such as bone spurs. Although conservative treatments won’t eliminate bone spurs, they can help minimize the pain and discomfort that occurs when the bone spur compresses a nerve root or the spinal cord. There are several conservative treatment options to choose from, and most options can be combined to find a personalized routine to manage your pain.


Medication is perhaps the most commonly recommended conservative spinal bone spur treatment. Patients can use over-the-counter or prescription pain medications and anti-inflammatory drugs to help control the symptoms of bone spurs. If oral pain medication is not helping to manage your pain, you may consider an epidural steroid injection, in which an anti-inflammatory steroid and a local numbing agent are injected directly into the epidural space of the spine to help manage the pain. A physician can prescribe a proper dosing regimen to meet your specific needs.

Physical therapy and exercise

Physical therapy and exercise are also common forms of conservative bone spur treatment. A physical therapist can create a routine to help you stretch and strengthen the muscles that support the neck or back, while also improving flexibility and increasing range of motion. Strengthening the muscles around your spine might help relieve the pressure on the impacted nerve in your spinal cord. Low-impact exercise, such as walking, may also be beneficial in building the surrounding spinal muscles and alleviating pain.

Additional conservative treatment options

In addition to medication and exercise, you may also find relief in other nonsurgical treatment options, such as hot and cold compresses, acupuncture and chiropractic care. For instance, you may experience short-term pain relief by visiting a chiropractor or massage therapist, practicing yoga or using heat and ice packs to relax tight muscles and numb pain. If applicable, you might also consider lifestyle changes, such as weight loss and dietary adjustments, to improve your overall well-being and enhance the effects of other forms of bone spur treatment.

Minimally invasive surgery for spinal bone spurs

If conservative bone spur treatment no longer manages your chronic pain, you might consider a minimally invasive procedure to relieve the pressure caused by a bone spur in your spine. Where conservative treatments aim only to manage your pain, surgical treatment options aim to treat symptoms at the source.

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer minimally invasive spine surgery as an alternative to traditional open neck or open back surgery. Our surgical procedures have lower risks of complication and shorter recovery times^ due to our muscle-sparing surgical techniques. We perform a range of minimally invasive procedures that can help address spinal bone spurs and other degenerative spine conditions. These surgeries include:

  • Foraminotomy. This is a minimally invasive decompression surgery that relieves pressure on a nerve root in a foraminal canal.
  • Laminotomy. A laminotomy is a minimally invasive decompression surgery in which a surgeon will relieve the pressure on the spinal cord due to a narrowing of the spinal canal.
  • Discectomy. Bone spurs, among other spine conditions, can be accompanied by herniated or bulging discs that compress a surrounding nerve. During our minimally invasive discectomy procedure, a portion of the disc is removed to decompress the nerve and help relieve pain.
  • Facet thermal ablation. If a facet joint in the spine becomes excessively deteriorated, a surgeon can use a laser to “deaden” the nerve that gives sensation to the joint so the nerve can no longer register pain.

If you have a severe case of spinal bone spurs where a traditional spinal fusion is being recommended, we may recommend a minimally invasive stabilization surgery to help relieve pain. Our minimally invasive stabilization surgeries include:

  • Decompression with Interlaminar Stabilization® Device. This procedure is designed to decompress the impacted nerve by widening the spinal canal and inserting an Interlaminar Stabilization® device to stabilize the spine.
  • Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF). This procedure is designed to address instability in the lumbar (lower) part of the spine.
  • Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (LLIF). This procedure allows surgeons to remove bone spurs or other materials that are compressing a nerve in the lumbar spine, then heighten the area to reduce the likelihood of further problems in the future, through small incisions in the sides of the abdomen.
  • SI Joint Fusion. This procedure is used to join the pelvis and the sacrum, which can reduce the symptoms a patient is experiencing while helping retain range of motion.
  • Posterior Cervical Fusion. This procedure is performed to add extra support to the neck portion of the spine, and can be an effective treatment for compression-related spinal instability.
  • Anterior Cervical Discectomy Fusion (ACDF). This procedure is designed to address instability problems in the cervical (upper) part of the spine.
  • Cervical Disc Replacement. This procedure involves the replacement of a damaged or deteriorated disc with an implant. This surgery is typically performed as an alternative to a fusion.

Laser Spine Institute has assisted more than 60,000 patients since 2005, helping them find lasting relief^ from neck and back pain. Take a moment and read through a few of our previous patient testimonials to see the lives we have touched.

If you are interested in learning more about our bone spur treatment options, or if you would like to find out if you are a candidate for one of our procedures, please contact Laser Spine Institute for a no-cost MRI review* today. We are ready to help you find the best treatment option so you can STAND TALL* and get back to your life.