Effective Treatment for Bone Spurs
Frisco Spine specializes in treating disorders of the neck and spine, including bone spurs (osteophytes). These bony projections form in the joints, and can result in pain and loss of motion. Early treatment is critical to prevent or delay further damage to the spinal joints. To learn more, schedule an appointment at our spine center today.
Understanding Bone Spurs
Bone spurs are primarily an indication of another problem causing degeneration, such as osteoarthritis. The breakdown of cartilage that results from osteoarthritis leaves the ends of the bones without cushioning, and bone spurs are the body’s attempt to compensate. Forming over a long period of time, bone spurs are actually a normal part of aging and degeneration of the spinal architecture. However, they can also be the result of traumatic injury to the spine, especially sports-related injuries and motor vehicle accidents. Even poor posture and poor nutrition can accelerate the degenerative process and promote bone spurs. Bone spurs can also be congenital or hereditary. Because they form slowly and are often asymptomatic, you can have bone spurs for many years and not know it.
Symptoms and Complications
Complications from bone spurs occur mainly when they compress the nerves in the lower back. The small holes through which nerve roots exit the spine are called foramina. When bone spurs form there, they interfere with the nerve and can cause radiating pain, weakness, tingling, or numbness in the legs and feet. Other complications can include pain and stiffness in the back. In some cases, bone spurs can break off from the larger bone and drift into areas between the bones, causing intermittent locking of the joint. Other symptoms include:
- Burning, tingling, or numbness in the hands
- Dull pain in the neck or lower back when standing or walking
- Loss of coordination
- Muscle cramps, spasms, or weakness
- Radiating pain in the buttocks and thighs
- Radiating pain in the shoulders
The symptoms associated with bone spurs are similar to other conditions. Therefore, it is especially important to receive an accurate diagnosis from a spinal specialist.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Your physician will review your medical history, perform a physical examination, and rule out other conditions that have similar symptoms but different causes. Part of this process will involve tests that may include computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), electroconductive tests, and X-rays to highlight any bone changes.
If bone spurs are the cause of your symptoms, we will first attempt a conservative approach using non-surgical treatments. These treatments might include injections or medications to help reduce swelling and pain, and physical therapy to restore flexibility and strength, reducing pressure on the nerves. We may also recommend other treatments, such as acupuncture or chiropractic care. Exercise and rest can also be helpful.
If this approach is not successful, surgical treatment may be necessary. Laminectomy is a procedure that involves removing a portion of the back of the spinal canal to make more room for the nerves and to provide the surgeon access to any bone spurs that require removal. The intervention relieves pressure on the nerve roots in the spine, reducing pain.
When spinal surgery is necessary, we try to use minimally invasive techniques as much as possible. By using endoscopic cameras and small incisions, patients can experience a faster recovery with less pain. In addition to surgical intervention, the patient is given a customized home exercise program. Exercise strengthens the back and adds flexibility, which helps to maintain the effects of surgery and prevent future complications.
Schedule a Consultation Today
If you suffer from neck or back pain related to bone spurs, we can help. Contact our office to schedule an appointment with one of our multidisciplinary specialists for an evaluation. We take great satisfaction in helping patients regain their quality of life.