Is Follow-Up Necessary After Medical Treatment for Spinal Bone Spurs?

Treatments for spinal bone spurs (osteophytes) usually focus on pain management. In general, osteophytes only cause problems if they create pressure on a spinal nerve. If this happens, there are many non-surgical options that can be very effective for relieving symptoms. Typically symptoms will include pain, muscle weakness, numbness, and tingling sensations. 

Do You Need 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. Oftentimes treatment will consist of physical therapy, therapeutic massage, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). In large part, these treatments work by reducing inflammation. This in turn can relieve the pressure on a compressed spinal nerve. But the root cause of the inflammation – the bone spur – will remain. Therefore while it could be 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 applications of heat and cold to the painful area of your spine. For severe symptoms, your doctor 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 more extended period of time and also help avoid surgery. 

Minimally Invasive Surgery with BEST

If conservative treatment ultimately proves to be insufficient you may want to explore your surgical treatment options such as a laminectomy procedure to remove problematic bone spurs physically. Surgical treatment can permanently remove osteophytes and alleviate the nerve compression causing your pain. 

If you’d like to learn more, contact BEST Health System. We can determine if you are a candidate for surgery with our on-site MRI.