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What Causes Spinal Bone Spurs

Bone spurs, or osteophytes, are small outgrowths of bone that can occur throughout the body. Though painless in and of themselves, bone spurs can cause problems when they come into contact with other tissues or bones. In the spine, bone spurs typically become problematic when they put pressure on nerves, resulting in pain and numbness. Osteoarthritis is a common progenitor of bone spurs, but they can also form of their own accord. In many cases, an attempt by the body to re-distribute weight across a damaged joint is what causes bone spurs.

Spinal diseases characterized by bone spurs include Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis, or DISH, in which bone spurs form on the spinal ligaments. Spondylosis arises when a bone spur causes bones in the neck or lower back to degenerate. Bone spurs can also be a factor in spinal narrowing, a condition known as Spinal Stenosis.

What Causes Spinal Bone Spurs to Go Away?
Spinal bone spurs are usually diagnosed with a complete physical examination and medical history to determine what the causes may be and where the pain is localized. MRI, CT scans, and X-rays may also be used. Aside from putting pressure on your nerves, bone spurs can also break off, forming "loose bodies" that may lodge in your joints and inhibit movement.

Arthroscopic spinal surgery is becoming the preferred treatment for spinal bone spurs. In this procedure, tiny incisions are made and a miniature camera is inserted so that your surgeon can view a highly magnified image of the problem area. For further information on what causes spinal bone spurs and what treatment methods are best for you, please visit the Bonati Institute for Advanced Arthroscopic Surgery (www.bonati.com).


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