Spine Conditions

 Bone Spurs

Bone spurs, sometimes called ostephytes, are bony growths that develop over time. As a spinal disc or joint wears down, the ligaments around it become loose. Eventually, the ligaments toughen and these bony growths may appear. Many bone spurs fail to produce symptoms or cause damage; they are often considered a natural part of aging although they sometimes have another cause. If they press upon a nerve or the spinal cord, however, discomfort may become apparent. Bone spurs can cause pain upon standing and walking. If the spur is in the neck region, pain may radiate into the shoulders or the sufferer may experience a headache. Spurs in the lower back may cause pain that radiates into the legs. If a nerve becomes increasingly compressed by a bone spur, weakness, tingling, and numbness of the affected limbs may develop.

Treatments may include a brief initial rest period, muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory medication, epidural injections, physical therapy, and exercise. When a bone spur severely compresses a nerve or the spinal cord, surgery may be required. Some patients are candidates for minimally invasive spinal surgery to relieve severe symptoms.