As we age, our bodies naturally degenerate from wear and tear. Since bone spurs are often caused by degeneration, it is no surprise that the majority of the population have bone spurs that develop in their joints and along their spine. Bone spurs in the neck, also called cervical osteophytes, can develop anywhere from the base of the skull to the base of the neck. Bone spurs in the neck are only a cause for concern if they cause pain or affect function.
Osteoarthritis and other degenerative conditions are the primary reason bone spurs develop. Trauma due to a sports or other injuries can also contribute to the development of bone spurs. Most cervical bone spurs cause no symptoms and may go undetected for years. They may not require treatment. Decisions about treatment depend on where spurs are situated and how they influence pain and function.
Symptoms of Bone Spurs in the Neck
Often, bone spurs cause no noticeable symptoms. When bone spurs affect the cervical disc, the cervical facet, spinal nerves, or the spinal cord, patients will experience symptoms, such as pain or loss of function. Symptoms can include:
- Stiffness in the neck and shoulder region
- Neck pain
- Pain that may radiate into shoulders and/or arms
- Numbness in arms or hands
- Tingling in arms or hands
- Weakness in arms or hands
- Breathing problems
- Balance problems
Because many of the symptoms above can also be caused by several other conditions, it is important to see a spinal specialist for a proper diagnosis and to ensure appropriate treatment.
The MISI Approach to Bone Spurs Neck Treatments
Depending on symptoms, bone spurs in the neck can be treated in a variety of ways.
- Anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medication
- Pain Medication
- Chiropractic Treatment
- Physical Therapies
- Massage Therapy
- Injection Treatment
In severe cases or if symptoms cannot be controlled with more conservative management, surgery may be required. The minimally invasive experts at MISI routinely perform procedures to treat the painful symptoms of cervical bone spurs. Some common procedures used to treat pain associated with bone spurs include laminotomy, foraminotomy, anterior cervical discectomy and stabilization, and minimally invasive posterior stabilization.
Dr. Bryce Benbow has either authored or reviewed and approved this content.