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What causes a bone spur in the neck?

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Quick Answer

A bone spur in the neck has multiple causes, the most common of which is cervical osteoarthritis, states Spine-health. Other causes include poor posture, traumatic injury and other types of arthritis.

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A bone spur in the neck, also known as a cervical osteophyte, normally forms when damaged or inflamed neck tissue influences bone growth so bone cells are deposited in abnormal places, according to Spine-health. Cervical osteoarthritis involves changes to the discs, joints and bones of the neck and is a wear-and-tear condition caused by aging, says WebMD. Bone spurs occur as a result of the deterioration of discs and cartilage, but the condition is normally not progressive. Individuals over age 50, those with previous neck injuries and those in certain professions such as gymnastics have a greater risk of developing cervical osteoarthritis. Treatment options include rest, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, the use of a cervical collar, physical therapy and surgery.

Although cervical osteophytes normally cause no neurological symptoms or pain, some patients may experience a wide range of symptoms including headaches, neck stiffness, progressive weakness in the arms or hands or radiating pain in the arms and shoulders, as listed by WebMD. Bone spur symptoms mimic those of a number of other conditions, so individuals should consult a doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

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