How to Recognize the Signs of a Spinal Bone Spur

Oftentimes, it is difficult to pinpoint what is causing you discomfort, especially if it is located in your back because it could be due to a multitude of reasons. However, when it comes to bone spurs in the spine, there are some telltale signs that could be key indicators. Allow this informative blog to help you understand bone spurs in the spine and how they affect the body. 

What is a Bone Spur?

A bone spur is a small growth that develops on the surface of a bone, typically as a result of friction in an arthritic joint. These spurs develop on any of the bones throughout the body, including the vertebrae that make up the spine. Bone spurs themselves do not cause symptoms; however, if one of these growths compresses a nerve root to the spinal cord, it can result in a variety of symptoms. 

In the event that a bone spur pressees on a nerve root, it can cause symptoms that are very similar to those produced by a herniated disc. Therefore, an accurate diagnosis is essential to ensure proper treatment. 

Recognizing the Symptoms of a Bone Spur

The first step in recognizing the signs of a bone spur in the spine is being familiar with the symptoms it can produce when it compresses a nerve, which include:

  • Stiffness or instability in the spine
  • A grating or popping sound when the affected joint is engaged, called crepitus
  • Intermittent or chronic pain at the location of the compression
  • Pain, numbness, tingling, or muscle weakness that extends out to an extremity

When any of these symptoms occur, it is important to consult with a physician for an accurate diagnosis. These symptoms may indicate a bone spur in the spine or another spinal condition that needs to be treated. 

Imagery like an X-ray or MRI can help determine if spine bone spurs are the cause. If your physician determines that you are, in fact, suffering from nerve compression caused by a bone spur, they can help you determine the best treatment option. 

Addressing Bone Spur Symptoms

In many cases, it is possible to manage symptoms with a conservative, nonsurgical approach. Hot and cold compresses, pain medications, and stretching exercises can help minimize symptoms. Additionally, making certain lifestyle adjustments, such as losing weight and improving posture, can help reduce symptoms caused by bone spurs. 

For individuals with more severe symptoms caused by spinal bone spurs, it may be necessary to consider surgery to address the problem. At BEST Health System, our minimally invasive spine surgery has helped patients return to an active, healthy lifestyle at a faster rate than traditional surgery. 

If you would like to learn more about bone spur symptoms and treatment options, contact BEST today for a review of your options when it comes to therapies and surgeries.