Bone spurs on spine, also called osteophytes, are classified as a normal and natural change occurring on the spine (they can develop in other places, but today we will be talking about the spine exclusively). These changes appear as we grow older and are especially widespread among people over 60 years of age.
Then, why are we talking about them today if they are natural bone growths? Well, they are natural but they can cause many health problems, pain and limited range of motion so learning more about them will be beneficial to you.
What Are The Symptoms Of Bone Spur Induced Problems?
The symptoms will largely depend on the location of the spur itself, and patient will often experience:
- Limited range of motion in the spinal joints
- Back pain as well as referred pain felt in the arms and legs
- Tingling and numbness
- Muscle weakness in the extremities
- Joint pain
It is also important to know that bone spurs on the spine can develop and present with no symptoms whatsoever. And they are only spotted “by accident” on an X-ray done for some other reason. However, when your doctor spots them, he/she should do a bit more investigation and see if you should be getting rid of them straight away or wait for the symptoms to appear.
What Causes Them?
As I`ve said before, they occur naturally as we grow older, but there are some factors that can speed up their growth.
One of the most common causes is osteoarthritis in the spine. Osteoarthritis is a condition where the cartilage between the bones deteriorates, so the body makes an attempt to remedy this condition by growing bone spurs in the affected area.
The increased appearance can also be genetic, can be caused by our poor lifestyle choices, injuries, traumas, and nutrition.
They are diagnosed and discovered with the help of X-rays and by using a CT scan, and once they are spotted, the patient should undergo certain procedures in order to determine the amount of damage done to the nerves in the affected area.
How To Treat This Condition?
Since they are an anatomical “anomaly,” using pain medication you can only address its symptoms, you cannot make them go away. So, the doctor will usually prescribe painkillers and injections as a first line of defense.
The second line of defense is physical therapy, combined with periods of rest. Proper exercise will help strengthen the muscles and manage the pain a bit better.
But ultimately, the surgery is the only way to completely rid of bone spurs on the spine.