What Causes Bone Spurs in the Neck?

Overview of Bone Spurs

In a healthy spine, the vertebrae are cushioned by discs that allow the vertebrae to pivot and bend without impacting each other. Additionally, the facet joints that allow the vertebrae to hinge are covered with a lining of cartilage to protect the vertebrae from rubbing together. All of these components are in place to keep the vertebrae from contacting each other, Therefore, when one of these things wears down over time, such as a disc becomes damaged or the cartilage lining deteriorates, the vertebrae start to collide and form bone spurs. 

Commonly found in the neck and back, bone spurs, also known as osteophytes, are excess bone growths that the body might create for a number of reasons. This can include age, arthritis, disc degeneration, poor posture, traumatic injury, and other causes to stabilize joint areas of the body. While the term “spur” often creates images of something pointy or sharp, bone spurs are actually smooth growths that don’t necessarily cause any pain or other problems. In fact, bone spurs are a very common occurrence as you get older. Continue reading to learn more about the symptoms and cause of this debilitating condition. 

Bone Spur Symptoms

While bone spurs may not cause any problems on their own, neck or back bone spurs can sometimes grow to the point where they pinch nerves or other bones, causing the possibility of a number of issues arising. When neutral compression or bone-on-bone contact occurs as a result of bone spurs, a patient may experience:

  • Severe neck or back pain
  • Restricted movement
  • Numbness
  • Radiating arm or leg pain
  • Weakness in the extremities
  • In some cases, disability

Bone spur symptoms can remain locally at the spine or travel the length of the nerve pathway into the arms or legs. 

Bone Spur Treatments

If you have been experiencing any symptoms that might lead you to believe neck or back bone spurs might be to blame, be sure to consult your physician. An X-ray can determine the existence of bone spurs and whether they are causing any problems. Treatment options for bone spurs include medications such as anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxers, pain medications, cortisone injections, physical therapy, exercise, and even surgery in severe cases. 

Certain surgical treatments for bone spur relief are invasive and can result in lengthy recovery times. However, with the innovative, minimally invasive procedures performed at BEST Health System, you can experience relief from the pain of neck and back bone spurs quickly, with faster recovery and less chance of infection than with open spine surgery. For more information about our minimally invasive procedures and surgery centers, contact us today. 

BEST Health System is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery and has helped thousands of patients find relief from chronic neck or back pain. Our dedicated team performs minimally invasive spine surgery in state-of-the-art facilities that are built around patient-centered care. To find out if you are a candidate for our outpatient procedures, reach out to our team today and get started on your path to recovery.