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Bone Spurs and Osteophytes

Bone spurs (or osteophytes) themselves aren’t painful — but as you likely know, when they rub against nearby nerves or narrow the spaces between the vertebra through which nerves pass, they cause severe pain.

The Axis Special Hospital (Vertebris International Spine Hospital) is a pioneer and leader in bone spur and osteophyte laser spine surgeries that restore the compressed nerves that are causing your pain and discomfort.

Causes of Bone Spurs and Osteophytes

Bone spurs and osteophytes often are a reaction to changes in your joints due to diseases and aging—most commonly osteoarthritis. As osteoarthritis breaks down the cartilage in joints in your spine, your body attempts to repair the loss. In many cases, this means creating new areas of bone along the edges of your existing bones.

Bone Spurs and Stability

Your body may also create bone spurs in an attempt to add stability to the spine. Bone spur formation is the body’s attempt to increase the surface area of a joint to better distribute weight across a joint surface that has been damaged by arthritis or other conditions. Unfortunately, this can become a largely wasted effort by our body, as the bone spur itself can become restrictive, impinge on a nerve and cause stenosis.

Bone Spurs and Other Conditions

Bone spurs are the hallmark of other diseases and conditions, including:

  • Spondylosis: In this condition, osteoarthritis and bone spurs cause degeneration of the bones in your neck (cervical spondylosis) or your lower back (lumbar spondylosis).
  • Spinal stenosis: Bone spurs can contribute to a narrowing of the bones that make up your spine (spinal stenosis), putting pressure on your spinal cord.

Symptoms of Bone Spurs and Osteophytes

Where your bone spurs are located determines where you’ll feel pain and whether you’ll experience any other signs or symptoms. For instance, bones spurs on the surfaces of the vertebra in your spine can push against your nerves, causing intermittent or constant pain.

Loose Bodies and Joint Locking

Bone spurs can also break off from the larger bone, becoming what doctors call “loose bodies.” Often, bone spurs that have become loose bodies will float in your joint or become embedded in the lining of the joint.

Loose bodies can drift into the areas in between the bones that make up your joint, getting in the way and causing intermittent locking — a sensation that something is preventing you from moving your joint. This joint locking can come and go as the loose bodies move into and out of the way of your joint.

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