Three Tips to Prevent Bone Spurs

What is a Bone Spur?

A bone spur, or osteophyte, is a small, rounded growth that forms on bones. Bone spurs often develop on or near joints, including spinal joints, when joint cartilage wears away and allows bone-on-bone contact. This contact results in friction that prompts the body to respond by growing extra bone tissue. Many people develop this condition throughout their lives, but sometimes symptoms go unnoticed. In certain cases, a bone spur can interfere with surrounding nerves and other tissues. Nerve compression problems are often seen with spinal bone spurs due to the density of nerve tissue in the spinal column.

In many cases, spine degradation is part of the normal aging process, meaning it’s impossible to completely prevent their development. But there are some steps you can take to reduce the odds of developing this potentially painful condition.

1. Eat a healthy diet

First, you want to be sure that your bones are as strong and healthy as possible. Eating a nutritionally balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin D3 and calcium, can improve your overall well-being, including your bones and joints.

2. Get regular exercise

Exercise is beneficial for many reasons, from stretching and building your muscles to helping reduce excess body weight. Being overweight increases the pressure on joints — including those in the spine. That means shedding extra pounds can relieve joint stress and potentially slow the deterioration of joint cartilage. Keeping the cartilage intact is essential to reducing the risk of bone spur growth.

3. Avoid high-impact sports

However, not all exercises are equal when preventing bone spur growth. High-impact sports like football and those that involve repetitive, strenuous motion can damage joints in several ways, including wearing away cartilage more quickly than what natural deterioration would cause. This can lead to the development of this condition. Instead, consider walking, swimming, using an elliptical machine, or another low-impact exercise less likely to strain your joints.

Treating Bone Spurs

Upon diagnosing this condition, most doctors will treat any related bone spur symptoms with conservative treatments, including medication, physical therapy, and therapeutic massage, along with the above healthy lifestyle recommendations. A consultation with a surgical specialist may be recommended if weeks or months of conservative treatment do not bring the relief you need for an improved quality of life.

Bone Spur Surgery

If conservative treatments are ineffective, you may be a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery. Contact us today to learn more about the procedures at BEST Health System.