An overview of basic bone spur information

If your doctor tells you that you have one or more bone spurs in the spinal column, it might sound like a serious diagnosis. While these growths can be a source of debilitating symptoms, they are also relatively common and aren’t always painful. If you are seeking relief for symptoms related to a bone spur, learning some basic information can help you engage more in the treatment process.

What is a bone spur?

A bone spur, or osteophyte, is bony growth that results from stress and pressure placed on the skeleton. Bone spurs are round and smooth and they often develop as a natural response to bone-on-bone friction. In and of themselves, these growths don’t cause symptoms and can go unnoticed for long periods of time. However they can cause both local and radiating symptoms, especially in the spinal column, if they put pressure on a nerve.

What are the causes?

In general, a spinal bone spur develops after the cartilage that lines the spinal joints has degenerated, and exposed bone endings begin to rub against each other. For a bone spur to form, the cartilage is generally worn away through the progressive deterioration due to aging, a condition called osteoarthritis. Degenerative disc disease might also be to blame in these circumstances, because when people age, the spinal discs lose height, leading to increased contact between the vertebrae.

What are the possible treatment options?

Treatment generally starts with conservative methods. These treatments can include everything from carefully stretching to taking pain medications to seeking physical therapy. Often, patients can find relief from bone spur pain through these methods, but when weeks or months of treatment don’t produce results, it might be time to consider surgical options.

If you are exploring the possibility of surgery, contact the caring and dedicated team at Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive spine surgery is performed on an outpatient basis and offers patients less risk of complication and a shorter recovery time when compared to traditional open neck or back procedures.

Contact Laser Spine Institute today for a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.