A bone spur in the neck (cervical spine) will not always cause pain or require treatment. Produced naturally by the body in response to spinal degeneration, these smooth bony deposits can actually help fortify weakened vertebrae. But there is some potential for trouble as well.
Within the spinal canal – which houses the spinal cord and a series of sensitive nerve roots – there is only so much space available. If a bone spur develops on a vertebra in the neck, it can encroach on the spinal canal. This will in turn take up valuable space and crowd nearby nerves. If the spinal nerves become pressured, it can produce a number of uncomfortable symptoms.
Symptoms of a Bone Spur in the Cervical Spine
If a bone spur in the neck compresses a spinal nerve, the resulting discomfort can take a variety of forms, including:
- Dull neck pain
- A stiff neck
- Radiculopathy, which may cause shock-like pains that radiate along the pathway of a nerve that runs from the neck through a shoulder, arm, wrist, and hand
- Numbness and tingling sensations in one or both arms
- Progressive muscle weakness in one or both arms
- Myelopathy, which may include balance or coordination issues, leg pain, and loss of bladder or bowel control
Because most bone spur symptoms have a number of possible causes, including several different spinal and neurological conditions, an accurate diagnosis is essential to finding the right treatment approach. After identifying a bone spur in the neck or diagnosing another underlying issue, a physician can recommend an appropriate treatment plan to potentially provide effective relief.
Treatment May Involve Surgery
Some patients ultimately elect to have surgery to address severe bone spur symptoms. This can be due to symptoms worsening, not responding to conservative treatment, or involving progressive neurological decline. If you’re at the point where you think you need surgery to treat a bone spur in your neck, contact BEST Health System today. Our on-site MRI can help determine the severity of your bone spur to see if you’re a candidate for one of our outpatient procedures. Additionally, our team can help you find the best treatment approach for you.