Spinal bone spurs can cause a number of symptoms. The most common sign is neck or back pain. This can result from inflamed facet joints, compressed spinal nerves, or irritated muscles. Many people experience dull, localized pain while standing or walking, along with tingling sensations that travel into their arms or legs. The specific symptoms can vary based on the location of the problematic bone spurs.
Usually, the symptoms of bone spurs worsen with physical activity and improve with rest. For instance, an individual who has a bone spur in his or her lower back may feel better when leaning over a shopping cart or cane.
Rare Bone Spur Symptoms
Depending on the location of a compressed nerve and the level of compression present, a bone spur can produce neurological symptoms. Some of which can be severe. In addition to radiating pain and tingling sensations in the extremities, spinal nerve compression can cause progressive muscle weakness which can lead to impaired mobility.
In very rare cases, bone spurs can cause potentially life-threatening symptoms. For instance, cauda equina syndrome (CES) is an uncommon but severe condition that requires immediate attention. CES occurs when a bundle of nerves situated at the base of the spine (the cauda equina) is severely compressed. The cauda equina which transmits signals control the leg muscles and provide sensation to the lower body also controls bladder and bowel function.
The following are rare symptoms of bone spurs that constitute a medical emergency:
- Bladder or bowel incontinence. Bladder/bowel dysfunction, which is the primary red flag of CES, may become apparent in the form of urinary retention, a need to strain in order to urinate, an unusual sensation or lack of sensation during urination, poor urinary stream, or a loss of rectal control.
- Saddle anesthesia. CES can cause a loss of sensation in the saddle region. This includes the groin, buttocks, genitals, and upper inner thighs.
- Sharp or stabbing leg pains. Compression of the cauda equina may lead to sciatic nerve pain, which may be experienced as a sharp, hot pain that runs down the backs of the thighs and into the lower legs and feet.
Surgery with BEST
If you are interested in learning more about bone spur surgery, contact BEST Health System. Our board-certified surgeons, Dr. Girton, and Dr. Abbott perform minimally invasive spine surgery to relieve the symptoms of bone spurs. Our approach is often the most clinically appropriate first choice. This is because it provides many advantages versus open neck or back surgery. Find out if you’re a candidate today!