Understanding Bone Spurs
Treatment for spinal bone spurs (osteophytes) usually focuses on pain management. In general, osteophytes only cause problems if they create pressure on a spinal nerve. If this happens, many non-surgical options can be very effective for relieving the associated pain, muscle weakness, numbness, and tingling sensations.
Follow-Up Treatment for Bone Spurs
If you received conservative treatment for bone spurs and were able to achieve sufficient symptom relief, you might be wondering if you need any follow-up. This will largely depend on how you feel. As you are likely aware, it can take some time — typically several weeks or months — before you experience the full effects of bone spur treatments such as physical therapy, therapeutic massage, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). In large part, these treatments work by reducing inflammation, which can relieve the pressure on a compressed spinal nerve. But, the underlying cause of the inflammation —the bone spur — will remain. Therefore, while potentially effective, the effects of nonsurgical treatment will not necessarily be permanent.
As a general rule of thumb, you should follow up with your physician if you experience pain flare-ups following your treatment for bone spurs. They may suggest that you rest briefly and try alternating hot and cold applications to the painful area of your spine. For severe symptoms, your physician may prescribe pain relievers, muscle relaxants, or epidural steroid injections. Again, the relief you achieve with these treatments will be temporary, but repeating them may reduce your pain for a longer period and also help you avoid surgery.
Surgery Options with BEST Health System
If conservative treatment ultimately proves to be insufficient, you may want to explore your surgical treatment options, such as a laminectomy procedure to remove the problematic bone spurs physically. Surgical treatment can permanently remove osteophytes and alleviate the nerve compression that is causing your pain.
If you’d like to learn more, contact BEST Health System. We offer less invasive alternatives to traditional surgery.