Osteophytes, or bone spurs, are extra bone growths produced by the body when a bone has been damaged or worn down. They take time to develop but usually form near joints such as the feet, hips, knees, and spine. Bone spurs on the spine can cause pain, but there are methods, medications, and surgeries that can help to relieve discomfort caused by bone spurs. If you believe you have a bone spur on your spine, here’s what you need to know.
What Causes Bone Spurs On the Spine?
Generally, there is a layer of cartilage between the joints to prevent friction. But when this protective layer breaks down, the joints can rub together and wear down. Your body will then produce bone to repair the damage, which creates a bone spur. One of the most common causes of cartilage breakdown is osteoarthritis.
Are There Any Side Effects?
In many cases, bone spurs may go unnoticed or leave the person unaffected. However, it can press on sensitive nerves and lead to inflammation, swelling, and pain. If you have a bone spur on your spine that is causing you pain and inflammation, please visit a professional.
Treatments for Bone Spurs
Bone spurs do not go away once they have formed; however, treatment options are available for those experiencing discomfort caused by bone spurs in the spine. These treatment options include:
Physical therapy and exercise can be beneficial for relieving the stress on the joints and improving movement in the spine. You can research, ask a doctor, or speak with a physical therapist about exercises and stretches that can open up the back and enhance movement.
If stretching, exercise, and pain relievers are ineffective for treating your spine bone spurs, then consider speaking with a doctor. They may recommend corticosteroid injections for relieving inflammation. The relief will also last longer and provide you with more relief than everyday painkillers. Injections can be administered between one and three times within a few weeks. However, results can last for years.
Doctors will do what they can to avoid surgery, but it may be necessary for some patients. In cases where the spinal cord is compressed, motor skills are weakened, or pain is not manageable, the bone spur must be removed.
Schedule a Consultation
If you are struggling with a bone spur on your spine that has not been responsive to traditional treatments, contact Todd J. Albert, MD. Dr. Albert is a highly-regarded spine surgeon in New York, NY, serving as the Surgeon-in-Chief Emeritus at the Hospital for Special Surgery.
Contact his office today at (202) 606-1004 or visit his website to learn more.