A bone spur, or osteophyte, is a projection of bone that develops and
grows along the edge of joints. Bone spurs are fairly common in people
over the age of 60. It is not the bone spur itself that is the real
problem; pain and inflammation begin to occur when the bone spur
rubs against nerves and bones.
we age, the discs in our spine naturally degenerate and lose some
of their natural shock-absorbing ability. Factors that contribute
to and accelerate this process include stress, injury, poor posture,
poor nutrition, and family history.
is not uncommon for people with osteoarthritis to get bone spurs.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition in which joint cartilage
begins to wear down, causing bone to rub against bone. As a result,
the body may begin to produce new bone to protect against this,
which is how a bone spur forms.
and neck pain
radiating through an arm and/or leg
lumps on the hands, feet or spine
below are some of the diagnostic tools that your physician may use
to gain insight into your condition and determine the best treatment
plan for your condition.
history: Conducting a detailed medical history helps the doctor
better understand the possible causes of your back and neck
pain which can help outline the most appropriate treatment.
exam: During the physical exam, your physician will try to
pinpoint the source of pain. Simple tests for flexibility and
muscle strength may also be conducted.
are usually the first step in diagnostic testing methods. X-rays
show bones and the space between bones. They are of limited
value, however, since they do not show muscles and ligaments.
(magnetic resonance imaging) uses a magnetic field and radio
waves to generate highly detailed pictures of the inside of
your body. Since X-rays only show bones, MRIs are needed to
visualize soft tissues like discs in the spine. This type of
imaging is very safe and usually pain-free.
scan/myelogram: A CT scan is similar to an MRI in that it provides
diagnostic information about the internal structures of the
spine. A myelogram is used to diagnose a bulging disc, tumor,
or changes in the bones surrounding the spinal cord or nerves.
A local anesthetic is injected into the low back to numb the
area. A lumbar puncture (spinal tap) is then performed. A dye
is injected into the spinal canal to reveal where problems
Electrical testing of the nerves and spinal cord may be performed
as part of a diagnostic workup. These tests, called electromyography
(EMG) or somato sensory evoked potentials (SSEP), assist your
doctor in understanding how your nerves or spinal cord are
affected by your condition.
scan: Bone imaging is used to detect infection, malignancy,
fractures and arthritis in any part of the skeleton. Bone scans
are also used for finding lesions for biopsy or excision.
is used to determine the internal structure of a disc. It is
performed by using a local anesthetic and injecting a dye into
the disc under X-ray guidance. An X-ray and CT scan are performed
to view the disc composition to determine if its structure
is normal or abnormal. In addition to the disc appearance,
your doctor will note any pain associated with this injection.
The benefit of a discogram is that it enables the physician
to confirm the disc level that is causing your pain. This ensures
that surgery will be more successful and reduces the risk of
operating on the wrong disc.
Pain-relieving injections can relieve back pain and give the
physician important information about your problem, as well
as provide a bridge therapy.
goal when treating bone spurs is to minimize pain and prevent any
additional joint damage. Treatment methods may include weight loss,
stretching and physical therapy, rest and ice. Injections can reduce
inflammation long enough to relieve symptoms. Medications such as
ibuprofen or injections may be administered for pain. Bone spurs
can be surgically removed in the case of serious damage and deformity.
can osteoporosis impact the spine and cause a bone spur?
can have extremely serious consequences on the spine. It is a degenerative
condition in which joint cartilage can begin to wear down, causing
bone to rub against bone. As a result, the body may begin to produce
new bone to protect against this, which is how a bone spur forms.
can I tell if I have a bone spur?
spurs can generally be detected through X-ray, which can provide
a visual of any bony deposits.
I need surgery to treat a bone spur?
bone spurs are usually evidence of an underlying problem, this main
problem should be addressed first. This can include treatment methods
for degenerative disc disease, arthritis and osteoporosis. These
conditions can often be successfully treated with nonsurgical methods.
The Reading Neck and Spine Center has developed a front/back Mini-Brochure containing valuable information for patients, referral sources, and case managers. The Mini-Brochure provides information about The Reading Neck and Spine Center, treatment for work related injuries, physician biographies, and resources for how to get back to life in 2016.
To view or print the mini-brochure, click here.
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Taking the next step towards a life free of back pain may be easier than you think.
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