What Causes Bone Spurs on the Spine?


Quick Answer

According to Cedars-Sinai, bone spurs are caused by factors such as aging, heredity, joint degeneration, injury, poor nutrition, poor posture and being born with a structural problem. Health conditions such as arthritis, osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis also cause the development of bone spurs.

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Full Answer

It is common for people age 60 and over to develop bone spurs, according to Cedars-Sinai. Aging causes a gradual wearing down of the discs that hold ligaments together. Once the ligaments loosen, the body responds by causing ligaments to thicken, which leads to the growth of bits of new bone on those ligaments. Bone spurs become a problem when they put pressure on nerve roots around the spinal chord. This pressure may cause back and neck pain due to inflammation of the joints and muscles. At this point, a person with bone spurs may experience a dull pain in the lower back or neck when standing or walking. Other common symptoms are burning, tingling, muscle cramps, numbness, weakness and partial loss of coordination.

Depending on the severity of the bone spurs, several treatment remedies may be recommended by a doctor, notes Cedars-Sinai. Mild and moderate cases might be treated with injections of cortisone. Medications that relax the muscles may be prescribed for several weeks. Rest and physical therapy are other options.

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