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As we age, some of us form bone spurs or osteophytes along the spine. Often this occurse as our bodies attempt to fuse vertebral bodies together in response to disc degeneration, much the way a surgeon tries to fuse the spine together in surgery. The bony spurs formed by the body try to bridge the gap between the vertebrae.
Bone spurs usually occur as a result of a degenerative changes occurring in the intervertebral discs of the spine. They can be an indication of osteoarthritis, and may also demonstrate that wear and tear related to work, aging and genetics has occurred in the spine. Unfortunately, this can sometimes result in nerve root compression or narrowing of the spinal canal that houses the sensitive spinal cord. This narrowing can progress for years unnoticed, until something causes an inflammation of the spinal cord or nerve roots.
Bone spurs often signify other conditions, (on the right) including:
Spondylosis can be described as osteoarthritis and bone spurs in your neck (cervical spondylosis) or your lower back (lumbar spondylosis).
This condition can be described as a narrowing of the bones and ligaments that make up the spine (spinal stenosis), adding pressure on your spinal cord or nerve roots. Bone spurs contribute to this.
Bone spurs, and bulging discs may be a normal part of aging and have been found in older people who don’t have osteoarthritis or other diseases.
Pain reduction and prevention of further joint damage remain common goals in treating bone spurs. Weight loss, stretching, physical therapy, rest and ice are just a few of the treatment methods. Medications such as ibuprofen or injections may be administered for pain. Injections may reduce inflammation long enough to relieve symptoms. In serious cases of damage and deformity, bone spurs can be surgically removed.
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