Bone spurs, also known as osteophytes, are defined as the overgrowth of a bone of your body’s normal bone structure. These bone spurs often form where bones attach to the ligaments in the spinal vertebrae, but they can also occur at other bones- such as those of the shoulders, hands, knees and feet. A bone spur can be significant as this condition may cause neck and back pain as it applies pressure on soft tissues and nerves.
Causes of Bone Spurs
Arthritis in the spine (osteoarthritis) is the most common cause of bone spurs. This is due to the development of wear and tear in the spine as we age, which causes our bodies to repair itself by building extra bone in the damaged area of the vertebrae. This way, our bodies attempt to protect the degenerative spinal area with the new developed bone. Unfortunately, these bone spur can cause neck and back pain. Bone spurs are also built in response to overexertion and prolonged stress to the spine.
Symptoms of Bone Spurs
The type of symptoms will vary as they depend on the severity or size of the bone spur. Fortunately, most bone spurs do not cause any symptoms and may go undetected. Nevertheless, below is a list of symptoms that can be associated with bone spurs:
• Weakness and numbness in the upper or lower extremities
• Severe neck or back pain
• Restricted movement or stiffness.
• Radiating pain from the spine into the arms and legs
• Disability due to pain, stiffness or weakness.
Treatments of Bone Spurs
Treatment of such an overgrowth of bone in the spine will depend on the location and severity of the spur. Fortunately, most bone spurs do not cause any symptoms and thus, they will not require treatment. However, if a patient has a bone spur and experience symptoms, then minimally invasive options will be considered first. Your doctor will first diagnose your condition with the utilization of X-rays and MRIs. He or she will then recommend medications such as over-the-counter pain relievers. Other treatment options include physical therapy and exercise. For severe cases, epidural steroid injections or even surgery may be recommended.