An osteophyte formation is more commonly known as a bone spur, which occurs when a boned growth forms over an existing bone, according to WebMD. If the growth spreads to surrounding tissue, muscle, nerves or joints, it may cause pain from the pressure.
Osteophytes are sometimes caused by a long-term injury or develop in an area that has been under continuous stress. The growth is a result of the body trying to make repairs and reinforce places where bone has worn down. Spine-Health reports that over 50 percent of people over 60 have bone spurs. Osteophytes may be especially problematic if they put pressure on nerves along the cervical spine, a condition known as cervical spondylosis