One of the most common causes of spinal bone spur formation is the natural aging process. Over time, the parts of the spine naturally lose water content and become less able to withstand the pressure being placed on them every day.
This is especially true in the upper (cervical) and lower (lumbar) spine because these areas support significant body weight and are also highly flexible. One of the most common age-related conditions in the spine is osteoarthritis, which can lead directly to the formation of bone spurs.
How osteoarthritis causes bone spurs
In the spine, adjacent vertebrae are connected by the facet joints. These hinge-like structures are vitally important because they help stabilize the spine while allowing for the full range of motion required for upper body movement. Within the joints, the bones are coated in a thin layer of cartilage along with a thick lubricating fluid, which allows the vertebrae to glide together with minimal friction. However, over time this cartilage wears away, which can lead to direct bone-on-bone contact. When this happens, the body usually responds by forming bone spurs as a natural stabilizing response. Although these growths aren’t painful by themselves, they can cause the following problems:
- Interference with joint function
- Compression of adjacent nerve roots or the spinal cord
- Injury to spinal discs
Patients are often diagnosed with bone spurs after experiencing symptoms of nerve compression and seeing their doctor for treatment. In many cases relief of symptoms and improved range of motion can be achieved through doctor-recommended conservative options like medication, physical therapy, massage and improved posture. Surgery to decompress nerve affected by bone spurs is considered if weeks or months of these and other treatments do not improve symptoms.
At USA Spine Care we offer minimally invasive spine surgery that offers less risk of complication and a shorter recovery time when compared to traditional open neck or back procedures.^
To learn more about how our outpatient procedures treat bone spurs, reach out to our team today for a no-cost MRI review that can determine if you are a potential candidate.*