How Osteophytes Develop

Commonly referred to as bone spurs, osteophytes are smooth growths of the natural bone. When bone is repeatedly rubbed or weakened, it naturally will grow these enlargements in order to stabilize and strengthen itself. Though beneficial, when osteophytes press, impinge or compress surrounding nerves patients may experience chronic or severe pain.

These growths are commonly seen in conjunction with other conditions in the spine. As spinal conditions weaken the integrity of the elements of the spine, often the body will produce osteophytes along the vertebrae or within the facet joints to add stability.

Symptoms of spinal osteophytes

Most patients with bone spurs in the spinal column are never diagnosed, as the condition remains asymptomatic. However, when the condition causes irritation or compression of nerve roots or the spinal cord, patients may experience a variety of symptoms. These include:

  • Tingling
  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Localized pain
  • Burning sensations
  • Radiating symptoms

Treatment options for osteophytes

Most doctors recommend looking into conservative treatment options prior to exploring the surgical procedures available. These conservative options often include stretching, massage, physical therapy, injections and medication. For the majority of patients, these methods are an effective way to manage the pain and symptoms associated with their condition. However, for some patients these methods fail to bring relief, and surgery becomes the necessary next step.

Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive procedures that act as a successful alternative to traditional open neck or back surgery. To see if you may be a candidate for on of our procedures, contact Laser Spine Institute today.