Bone spurs are highly common growths that can develop along a bone's edge as you age. Although the bony projections themselves are not painful, they can affect nearby tissue and nerves leading to painful symptoms, especially when located on the spine.
Treatment of spinal bone spurs is available at Desert Institute for Spine Care in Arizona. Our spinal specialists can help you find relief from painful symptoms and restore your lifestyle.
Bone spurs have a somewhat misleading name. These bony growths are actually smooth projections that stick out from normal bone and often occur with age. Also called osteophytes, bone spurs can grow anywhere throughout the body but are most often found in spinal structures. Spinal bone spurs typically grow along the edge of facet joints where vertebrae meet each other or on the bones of the spine. These bony growths can develop at any level of the spinal column — in the neck, middle back or lower back.
Not every spinal bone spur causes pain. However, these projections can cramp the space of nearby structures, including spinal nerves and the spinal cord, leading to painful symptoms.
The facet joints are the bones that separate each of the spine's vertebrae and provide your back with its wide range of motion. Osteophytes that form here are usually a result of inflammation caused by cartilage wearing down.
Within each vertebra are small openings just large enough to allow nerve roots to leave the spinal cord and go to other parts of the body. When bone spurs grow in these openings, they can press on the exiting nerve roots — a condition called foramen stenosis.
While spinal bone spurs may not be painful, they can put extra pressure on surrounding nerves, muscles and ligaments, resulting in uncomfortable symptoms.
Spinal bone spurs usually generate symptoms from the affected area in the cervical, thoracic or lumbar spine region. However, pain can also radiate to the extremities depending on the growth's location.
Common symptoms associated with spinal bone spurs include:
Nearly 40% of older adults experience spinal bone spur symptoms painful enough to warrant treatment. At DISC, our highly skilled orthopedic surgeons specialize in a wide range of treatment options that aim to reduce the inflammation and pain produced by spinal bone spurs. After ensuring an accurate diagnosis using our Personalized Pain Diagnostics (PPD), we usually start with nonoperative treatments, such as:
While some patients benefit from conservative treatment methods, if the bone spur is pressing on a nerve or interfering with your normal ability to function, spinal bone spur removal surgery may be necessary. The orthopedic surgeons at DISC in the Phoenix, AZ area are leaders in minimally invasive spine surgery techniques, including endoscopic spine surgery.