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You may have bone spurs—or bony growths that can form in your spine—and never know it. Many never cause symptoms. However, some can cause pain and other symptoms severe enough that everyday activities like walking and standing become difficult.

If a bone spur is disrupting your life, the specialists at Twin Cities Spine Center (TC Spine) have the expertise to help you move comfortably again. Our team specializes specifically in disorders and diseases affecting the spine. We're recognized nationally—and internationally—as leaders in the field.

If you trust us with your care, we will develop a personalized treatment plan to help you get back to your work, family and life as quickly as possible.

Bone Spur Causes and Symptoms

Bone spurs—medically known as osteophytes—develop as a result of damage or irritation to a bone. Most bone spurs are caused by tissue damage brought on by osteoarthritis. As this disease breaks down the cartilage cushioning the ends of bones, your body attempts to repair the loss by depositing new bone.

If bone spurs grow large enough, they can pinch the spinal cord or nerves and cause troublesome symptoms.

Bone spurs in the back can cause:

  • Dull back pain when you're standing or walking.
  • Pain radiating down your lower back to your buttock and thigh.
  • Numbness or tingling in one or both legs.
  • Progressive weakness in one or both legs.

Bone spurs in the neck can cause:

  • Dull neck pain when you're standing or walking.
  • Pain radiating down your neck into your shoulder, often accompanied by a headache.
  • Tingling or numbness in one or both hands or arms.
  • Progressive weakness in one or both arms.
  • Loss of balance when walking.

In very rare cases, a bone spur in either the back or neck can cause bladder or bowel incontinence. This can be an urgent situation and you should contact your medical provider immediately.

Many bone spur symptoms are similar to those of other conditions, including diabetes, poor circulation, spinal tumors and infections. The proper treatment for bone spurs—or any spine problem—requires a thorough evaluation and an accurate diagnosis. You can count on both from the specialists at TC Spine.

Bone Spur Treatment

While we have a talented surgery team, we typically advise conservative treatments for bone spurs. Usually, we only recommend surgery when nonsurgical treatments such as physical therapy, chiropractic care and pain management injections aren’t helping.

When surgery is appropriate, a procedure such as laminectomy can enlarge the spinal canal and ease the pressure caused by a bone spur. In the right hands—such as those of our spine surgeons—this type of bone spur treatment can provide excellent symptom relief.