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Bone Spurs Basics, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

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Bone spurs occur with the natural degeneration of the spine. Also called osteophytes, are a common occurrence for patients over the age of 60. Even healthy, active adults are prone to developing bone spurs. However, you don’t have to be a victim of back pain as a result of your osteophytes. Chiropractic care has shown to be a viable treatment option for reducing or eliminating pain associated with bone spurs.

A Family Chiropractic Clinic can help you manage or eliminate your back pain. Our expert staff is highly trained on how to treat a number of conditions. Our goal is to not only ease your pain and suffering, but to help you live a more fulfilling life. We want all of our patients to be happy and able to do the things that they love. Often times, as we age, our quality of life begins to slowly diminish. We want to help you maintain a great quality of life as long as possible.

What Are Bone Spurs?

Our natural aging process includes the degeneration of our spinal discs. As the cartilage breaks down in our bodies our spinal discs also become brittle. The cushion that they once provided for our spine is now less effective. As this disc material erodes, the ligaments surrounding the area will loosen. This causes excess motion at the joint. Our bodies then will thicken the ligaments to compensate for the extra movement. The thicker ligaments will eventually calcify. This results in the formation of bone spurs.

Bone spurs are not generally painful themselves. In fact, many people have bone spurs and don’t experience any back or neck pain. However, these bony growths can cause problems by putting pressure on your spinal cord or nerves. This in turn can cause pain and discomfort. It’s most common for bone spurs to cause pain and discomfort in people who are 60 years old and over. However, some younger individuals do experience problems too.

Certain factors can accelerate the bone spur process in people under the age of 60. Genetics play a role in how long your spinal discs will remain healthy. Nutrition can also affect the longevity of the discs. Spinal discs can also be damaged earlier in life. Influencing factors include life-style, bad posture, and poor ergonomics. In addition, traumatic injuries can also degrade the quality of your spinal discs. Vehicle accidents, sports injuries, and falls can all lead to the premature breakdown of disc material.

Symptoms of Bone Spurs

People suffering from bone spurs may present with a variety of symptoms. The symptoms and degree of pain are dependent on the severity of the bone spurs. It’s very common to experience back and neck pain as these areas become irritated and inflamed. Many individuals report dull pain throughout the neck and back. This pain may worsen when standing or walking.

If the bone spurs are located in the neck then they may experience radiating pain into their shoulders. Headaches also commonly accompany bone spurs in the neck. When the bone spurs are located in the lumbar area then patients may experience radiating pain into the thighs. In all cases of osteophytes, the symptoms worsen with activity. They can also lessen with rest.

Bone spurs may also impede nerve function by putting pressure on your nerves and spinal cord. If this occurs, then patients often experience pain in one or more limbs. The pain is often accompanied by numbness or tingling and progressive weakness in the arms or legs. However, these symptoms may also indicate other conditions. This is why it’s important to see your chiropractor if you start to experience these symptoms. They can perform an exam and diagnostic tests to see how to treat your condition.

Diagnosing and Treating Bone Spurs

Your chiropractor will begin the diagnostic process by gathering your health history and current symptoms. They will then perform an exam to check for all possible conditions. Diagnostic tests are often used to help get an accurate diagnosis. These tests generally include x-rays combined with CT or MRI scans. They may also conduct an electroconductive test to check the severity of nerve damage.

These tests provide valuable information about the extent of changes in your spine, including bone spur formation. CT scans and MRI scans both can show the quality of your spinal discs. Bone spurs may be discovered during diagnosis, but they may not be the direct cause of your pain. Seeing a qualified and experienced chiropractor will ensure that you get the correct diagnosis.

After evaluating the diagnostic images and comparing the data with your symptoms, your chiropractor will reach a diagnosis. Then, together, you and your chiropractor will create a treatment plan that works for your unique situation.

Treatment Options for Bone Spurs

There are many non-invasive treatment options that can provide relief to patients suffering from painful bone spurs. Your chiropractor may recommend a short period of rest. However, you want to be sure that you are only resting as long as advised. Prolonged inactivity can weaken muscles and actually result in more back pain.

A few weeks of chiropractic adjustments can also help alleviate back and neck pain. Chiropractic care is often paired with physical therapy. Together, they help restore strength and flexibility to your neck and back. These two treatments combined can also help improve posture. Good posture does a lot for your spine. When your spine is properly aligned there is reduced pressure on your nerves.

Your chiropractor and physical therapist may also recommend special stretches and exercises to do at home. These stretches and exercises can help maintain and improve flexibility in your spine. They can also improve your core and back muscles so that your spine is properly supported. It’s also important to practice good posture through everything you do. When we slouch or hunch over our spines are not working in the way they were intended. This creates additional stress throughout our spines and bodies. This can lead to worsening symptoms if not corrected.

Our goal is to help you live a happy and pain free life. We treat you as a whole person rather than just focusing on treating your condition. We may also make suggestions for activities as well as diet to help improve your overall quality of life.

Call A Family Chiropractic Clinic today at (940) 566-0000 for more information on the treatment of pain resulting from bone spurs.