Non-Surgical & Surgical Treatments For Spinal Bone Spurs

Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: June 25, 2020

Spinal x-ray

Bones spurs are one of the most common conditions we see in our clinic, and they especially common in older individuals or those who are battling osteoarthritis. They tend to develop as cartilage wears bone down and your body attempts to repair this loss by creating additional bone near the damaged area. These new bone growths can become oversized or fragment, and then they can compress nearby soft tissues in your spine.

Spinal bone spurs, also classified as osteophytes, can develop in different sections of your spine, and they can be asymptomatic or cause severe pain. Below, we take a look at some of the nonoperative and surgical approaches to treating bone spurs of the spine.

Nonoperative Spinal Bone Spur Treatment

For mild to moderate spinal bone spurs, non-operative care is typically the first line of treatment. Depending on the location of your bone spur, your spine specialist may recommend one or more of the following treatments:

  • Weight Loss – Weight loss won’t be the only treatment recommended, but for patients who are carrying extra weight, a conversation about diet improvement can help take pressure off your spine. This can reduce friction between your vertebrae’s facet joints, which may help to reduce symptoms associated with your bone spur.
  • Exercise and Physical Therapy – Physical therapy and regular exercise can help to improve mobility and strengthen your spine, which can help take pressure off spinal segments and in turn reduce complications from bone spurs.
  • Medication – Medications are another treatment option that are best used in combination with active treatments. They can help calm inflammation and irritation caused by bone spurs, but you shouldn’t expect to rely on over-the-counter pain medications for an extended period, because they have some negative side effects when taken for long periods.
  • Rest – Sometimes short-term rest is all that is needed to alleviate symptoms. Pairing rest with days of exercise and activity can really help you find relief.
  • Injections – Spinal injections can help drown out pain sensations and make other treatment options like physical therapy or exercise more bearable. Injections help provide short-term relief, but eventually their effectiveness will fade, so you’ll want to be strengthening your spine when injections make movements less painful.

Surgical Treatments For Spinal Bone Spurs

Here’s a look at some surgical treatment options for spinal bone spurs.

  • Laparoscopic Spur Removal – Depending on the location of the spur, your surgeon may be able to perform a minimally invasive operation to remove the bony growths. The only issue with this is that the spur could return, so another type of operation may be recommended.
  • Laminectomy – A laminectomy provides pain relief by removing a portion of the affected vertebral segment called the lamina. This allows more room for the spinal canal, so offending bone spurs no longer impinge crucial structures.
  • Foraminotomy – A foraminotomy is a surgical procedure that reduces pressure on the nerve root by shaving down the bone tissue around the spinal foramen, which in turn enlarges the foraminal space. Similar to the above procedure, this creates more room for spinal nerve roots to travel unimpeded.

If you are wondering about the best treatment for your spinal bone spurs, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.

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