Patients diagnosed with a spinal bone spur often ask about the likelihood of surgery. The answer depends on factors like the severity and length of symptoms, as well as a patient’s individual health and medical history. A very important part of determining if you can recover from a spinal bone spur without surgery are the treatments that have been attempted.
In many cases, lasting relief for a return to normal activity can be achieved by following a course of conservative treatment options recommended by your doctor. By learning more about how this condition develops and what the recommended treatments are you can give yourself a better chance of recovering from this condition without the need for surgery.
Why do bone spurs cause problems?
Bone spurs are not painful by themselves. A bone spur — or osteophyte — is a small calcium deposit that develops naturally in the body as a stabilizing response to increased joint friction. Symptoms related to bone spurs are the result of interference with adjacent bones, muscles, connective tissue or nerves.
Bone spurs can develop just throughout the body and can have a range of causes, but the spine is an area often affected because of the stresses placed on it. Often, spinal osteophytes will grow as a byproduct of arthritic deterioration that occurs over time in the facet joints of the spine. After years of wear, the cartilage that lines these joints can deteriorate, eventually leading to bone-on-bone contact. When this happens, the body responds by forming protective bone spurs to stabilize the joint and prevent further bone damage.
Treatment options for bone spur symptoms
There are many options available for managing the painful symptoms that can be caused by spinal bone spurs. These treatments and lifestyle changes can vary depending on the patient, the cause of the bone spur and other pertinent variables, but may include some combination of:
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Low-impact exercise such as yoga, Pilates or tai chi
- Posture improvement
- Alternative treatments like chiropractic therapy
- Healthy life choices like weight management and quitting smoking
Surgery is usually considered a treatment of last resort when a patient has exhausted all nonsurgical options and is still struggling with chronic pain. Patients are often eager to avoid bone spur surgery because of the highly invasive nature of traditional open spine surgery which can involve a large incision, overnight hospitalization and a long recovery period.
As a safer and effective alternative, USA Spine Care performs minimally invasive spine surgery.^ Our surgeons can access the spine with a less than 1-inch incision, which spares muscles and allows our procedures to be performed on an outpatient basis. To learn more about the advantages of this type of spine surgery, contact us today.
We are happy to offer a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.