Often linked to joint damage associated with osteoarthritis, bone spurs (osteophytes) can also be the source of nerve compression and pain connected to movement. Commonly found in joints of the hips, knees, shoulders, hands, and feet, bone spurs can also form around the joints of the spine (facet joints). Treatment depends on the level of discomfort and the size of the bone spur.
Bone spurs often develop due to inflammation of nearby tendons and cartilage. Anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen can ease swelling and pain from nerve pressure. Some doctors may prescribe muscle relaxants for a short time.
Mobility and muscle strength can be increased with a customized physical therapy or rehabilitation program. Many patients with bone spurs see some degree of improvement after a few weeks of therapy that includes exercises to increase flexibility and strength of the affected joints and surrounding muscles. Therapy may also involve:
Epidural steroid injections are placed directly into the affected area to relieve inflammation and swelling. For patients with bone spurs on the joints of the spine, injections may also ease related back pain, although relief is temporary. Injections are meant to help patients progress with physical therapy.
If other treatments fail to provide significant relief, surgery may be necessary to remove the bone spur. If there are other structural issues contributing to your pain, bone spurs may be removed while you are having surgery to correct those issues. Possible procedures include a laminectomy surgery to create space by removing the part of the vertebra covering the spinal canal (lamina).
Bone spurs may result from injury or sudden trauma. Genetics also play a role, although simply having family members who have bone spurs doesn’t necessarily mean you will automatically develop them. Conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes can also increase susceptibility to bone spurs. Numbness, pain, tingling sensations, and arm and leg weakness are some of the symptoms associated with bone spurs.
If you think you need surgery for your bone spurs, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the expert surgeons at The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration. Dr. Hyun Bae can determine the best plan of action for correcting your condition. To learn more about the best spine surgery Los Angeles has to offer, call 310-828-7757 and schedule an in-person appointment.