Bone spurs, or osteophytes, are outgrowths of bone that are the body’s natural response to increased friction around the joints. They often occur in the spine in response to conditions like osteoarthritis or degenerative disc disease that cause increased contact between the vertebrae and spinal joints. While not necessarily painful, bone spurs can cause symptoms like pain, tingling and numbness by compressing nerves in the spinal column.
After being diagnosed with a bone spur in the spine, patients will typically be recommended to start with a basic course of conservative treatment options like rest, hot and cold compression and medication. If symptoms persist or worsen, more advanced treatments such as physical therapy or spinal injections may be recommended.
Why a steroid injection may be used for bone spur treatment
Spinal injections typically consist of a corticosteroid combined with a local numbing agent and can be administered in different parts of the spine, including the facet joints and the epidural layer that protects the spinal cord. The goal of these injections is to ease pain and reduce inflammation in the area of the spine where nerve compression or irritation is occurring. In addition to bone spurs related to arthritis, these injections are also often performed for conditions like bulging and herniated discs.
While a steroid injection does not directly treat the bone spur, by numbing the area and reducing inflammation they can reduce the symptoms caused by one. These injections can be effective for weeks or months and allow patients to take other steps — like completing a physical therapy or weight management program — to improve the overall health of the spine.
If surgery becomes an option
In many cases, conservative bone spur treatments such as steroid injections can help people manage their symptoms enough to enjoy normal activities and have a good quality of life. However, if you and your doctor have decided conservative options have been fully exhausted, surgery may become an option.
As a safer and effective alternative to traditional open neck or back procedures, USA Spine Care provides minimally invasive spine surgery. Our procedures use muscle-sparing techniques that allow them to be performed on an outpatient basis, leading to many advantages for our patients.
If you’d like to learn more, reach out to our team today. We’re pleased to offer a no-cost MRI or CT scan review to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.