What are Bone Spurs?

Injury and decay can diminish the natural structures that support your bones. The spine and other parts of the skeletal system may produce bone spurs to repair the bone and to provide additional stability.

Bone spurs are not inherently a problem; however, they can cause severe back pain if they contact or pinch an adjacent nerve.

It should be noted that a bone cyst is different from a bone spur. A cyst is a hollow cavity within the bone that is filled with fluid. Although bone cysts are normally benign, a physician should examine the condition as soon as possible.


These bony projections can occur in any health issue that compromises the stability of the spine. There are a large number of conditions that cause bone spurs. Common factors include the aging process, traumatic injuries and degenerative diseases, such as facet syndrome and osteoarthritis.

Pain: Bone spurs can cause excruciating back pain when they make contact with the nerves. The symptoms will vary based on which nerve the bone spurs touch or compress.

In addition to back pain, bone spurs can cause symptoms in your arms and legs or throughout your body.

Restricted Movement: The pain often makes sitting, standing and other everyday physical activities difficult. The natural response may be to restrict movement, but this reduces flexibility and range of motion.

Numbness and Tingling: Severely compressed nerves can cause these abnormal neurological sensations. If you experience numbness or tingling, speak with your physician. Ignoring these symptoms can cause the loss of normal bodily functions.


A thorough spinal examination includes an assessment for bone spurs. The evaluation will determine whether these bony projections or a different spinal condition is causing your back pain symptoms.

Those with back pain symptoms require medical imaging studies to confirm the presence of bone spurs. Your doctor will use X-rays, a CT scan or an MRI to determine the condition of your back and spine. An injectable medication can verify the results of these imaging studies. The doctor will use the images to identify the source of your back pain and where to inject the medicine.


Physicians use conservative treatments for newly diagnosed bone spur patients. These non-surgical treatments include massage, hot and cold therapy, pain medication, anti-inflammatory drugs and acupuncture. Over time, these treatments can gradually provide back pain relief.

If these non-surgical treatments do not relieve your back pain, speak with your physician about surgery options.

Contact your doctor to learn more about bone spur treatment options. There are effective treatments that can reduce or eliminate back pain and restore your quality of life.

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