Bone spurs do not always require treatment. Also called osteophytes, bone spurs are outgrowths that develop as a natural, stabilizing response to increased joint friction. Bone spurs in the spine are common because there are so many moving and interlocking bones that can potentially rub together. Additionally, the spine is responsible for supporting the weight of the upper body and is prone to degenerative conditions, such as facet joint arthritis, that lead to bone spurs. However, bone spurs are not symptomatic themselves and generally only cause symptoms when they begin to narrow the passageways the nerves travel through. This is why it is possible to have this condition for years without ever needing treatment.
Many patients don’t realize they have developed bone spurs until they begin to experience symptoms related to spinal narrowing and nerve compression. These symptoms can be debilitating, interfering with work, family time and simple activities like grocery shopping or working in the yard. It is possible to find relief with conservative treatment options. In most cases, they are sufficient for a return to normal activity and everyday comfort.
Conservative bone spur treatments
The goal of doctor-prescribed conservative bone spur treatment is to both relieve pain and restore any lost range of motion caused by nerve compression. For many degenerative spine conditions, including bone spurs, this means options like the following:
- Physical therapy
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Periods of rest
- Hot and cold compression therapy
- Light exercise to stretch and strengthen supporting muscles
Some patients also choose to supplement conventional conservative treatments with alternative methods like chiropractic care, acupuncture and mindfulness meditation. It is important to always inform your primary care physician about any new forms of treatment you’re attempting.
In some cases, these nonsurgical bone spur treatment options do not provide adequate relief for patients’ symptoms. Physicians may recommend surgery to treat after weeks or months of conservative treatment do not bring a return to normal, comfortable activity. Doctors and patients are reluctant to pursue surgery because it is a highly invasive process that involves a large, muscle-tearing incision, overnight hospitalization and a long recovery period.
At USA Spine Care, our surgeons use small incisions to perform minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery causing minimal damage to the muscles and other tissues surrounding the spine. This means our patients enjoy a shorter recovery time^ with less risk of complication compared to traditional open spine procedures.
To learn more about USA Spine Care and our minimally invasive bone spur treatment options, contact us today. We offer a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you’re a potential candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures.