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Spinal Bone Spurs

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. If you’d like to talk to one of our professionals about relief from spinal bone spurs, contact us or make an appointment today!

What Are Spinal Bone Spurs?

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 back pain. However, these projections can cramp the space of nearby structures, including spinal nerves and the spinal cord, leading to painful symptoms.

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What causes the pain?

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 joint 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.

What Causes Spinal Bone Spurs?

A variety of factors, usually age-related, can contribute to bone spurs. Heredity, trauma caused by sports or accident-related injuries, nutrition, poor posture and structural problems that patients are born with can put people at risk of developing spinal bone spurs.

A number of common conditions make it more likely that spinal bone spurs will develop:
Spinal arthritis

Spinal bone spurs often form as a result of chronic inflammation, which can develop within areas where cartilage has worn away due to spinal arthritis.


This condition breaks down the cartilage that cushions the ends of bone. As your body attempts to repair this loss, it can create bone spurs near the damaged area.

Spinal stenosis

This is a condition in which the opening of the spinal column become narrowed, leading to increased friction and inflammation that can cause bone spurs to form.


As the intervertebral discs wear with age and become thinner, the spine becomes more susceptible to bone spur formation.

What Are the Symptoms of Spinal Bone Spurs?

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:

  • Radiating pain to buttocks or shoulders
  • Dull pain, especially when standing or walking
  • Numbness
  • Burning or tingling, such as a pins and needles sensation in the hands or feet
  • Muscle spasms or cramps
  • Muscle weakness or wobbly joints
  • Limited flexibility or difficulty stretching limbs
  • Loss of coordination
  • Difficulties controlling bladder or bowels

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Treatment Options for Spinal Bone Spurs in AZ

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 a nonoperative range of treatment options, such as:

  • Specialized joint manipulation to reduce pressure on the nerves
  • Pain medication
  • Therapeutic injections

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.

Find Doctors Who Treat Spinal Bone Spurs Doctors in AZ

If spinal bone spurs are causing debilitating symptoms, the specialists at DISC can help you find relief from pain so you can enjoy life again. Schedule your appointment with our world-class surgeons today.

1635 E. Myrtle • Suite 400 • Phoenix, AZ 85020
Ph: 602-944-2900 • Fax: 602-944-0064

DISC - Desert Institute for Spine Care