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Anatomy of Bone Spurs

Bone spurs in the spine usually occur as a response to ongoing inflammation or degenerative changes. They can develop:

  • Along the edges of the vertebrae
  • In the facet joints, which help stabilize the spine and limit its motion
  • Near the intervertebral discs, which act as cushions between the vertebrae

These growths are the body’s attempt to compensate for the loss of spinal stability and structure due to wear and tear, injury, or degenerative conditions.

Causes and Risk Factors

The formation of bone spurs is primarily associated with the aging process and the resultant wear and tear on the spine. Other contributing factors include:

  • Osteoarthritis: The most common form of arthritis, leading to the breakdown of cartilage and resulting in bone spur formation
  • Disc Degeneration: As discs deteriorate, the body may form bone spurs to add stability
  • Spinal Injuries: Past injuries can lead to abnormal alignment and bone spur development

Genetic Factors: Some individuals may be genetically predisposed to developing bone spurs


Bone spurs themselves may not cause symptoms, but their effects can include:

  • Pain in the affected area, especially with movement
  • Stiffness and reduced range of motion in the spine
  • Nerve compression symptoms, such as tingling, numbness, or weakness, if the bone spur is pressing on a nerve

Diagnostic Process

At Excel Health, the diagnosis of bone spurs starts with a detailed physical examination to assess pain, mobility, and nerve function. Imaging tests, including X-rays, MRI, or CT scans, are crucial for visualizing the bone spurs and determining their impact on the spine and surrounding structures. These diagnostic tools help in formulating an effective treatment plan tailored to the patient’s specific needs.

Treatment Options

Conservative Care

Initial treatment for bone spurs typically involves non-surgical methods:

  • Physical therapy to improve flexibility and strength, reducing the load on the spine
  • Pain management through medications like anti-inflammatories or analgesics
  • Lifestyle modifications, including weight management and ergonomic adjustments, to reduce stress on the spine

Surgical Treatment

Surgery may be considered for bone spurs that cause significant pain or nerve compression not relieved by conservative treatments. Surgical options at Excel Health focus on removing the bone spur and alleviating pressure on the nerves, often through minimally invasive techniques. The decision for surgery is made based on a comprehensive evaluation of the patient’s condition and the potential for improved quality of life.

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