Bone Spurs (Osteophytes) FAQ

Bone Spurs (Osteophytes) FAQ

Bone spurs are bony projections or outgrowth of bone that develop along the edges of bones. It is also called an osteophyte. Bone spurs can form in any bone but are most commonly found in joints, where two or more bones come together. They also occur where muscles, ligaments, or tendons attach to the bone. Some of the most common parts of the body affected by bone spurs:

  • neck (cervical spine)

     


  • low back (lumbar spine)

     


  • shoulder, hip, knee, and heel

     


  • temporomandibular joint

     


  • hands, wrists, and feet

     

Q: What are the symptoms of bone spurs?

Most bone spurs cause no signs or symptoms and may go undetected for years. In some cases, though, bone spurs can cause pain and loss of motion in your joints. Specific symptoms depend on where the bone spurs are.
  • Knee. Bone spurs in your knee may make it painful to extend and bend your leg.
  • Spine. Bone spurs occur in the spine can cause pain and loss of motion, and can also pinch the nerves or spinal cord that causes pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in the arms or legs.
  • Hip. Bone spurs can make it painful to move your hip, although you might feel the pain in your knee. Depending on their placement, bone spurs can reduce the range of motion in your hip joint.
  • Shoulder. Bone spurs can rub on your rotator cuff, a group of muscles and tendons that help control your shoulder movements. If the bone spurs rub against tendons or ligaments, they can cause pain or a tear. This is a common complication in the shoulder and can lead to a rotator cuff tear.
  • Fingers. Appearing as hard lumps under your skin.

Q: What causes osteophytes?

Joint damage from osteoarthritis is the most common cause of bone spurs. Bone spurs typically occur because of continued stress or rubbing of a bone for a prolonged period of time. With osteoarthritis, this cartilage layer becomes worn away, and the bones can rub directly against each other. New bone forms in response to the stress or inflammation. It is the bone's method of trying to stabilize or protect itself.
There are other medical conditions that are commonly associated with bone spurs.
  • Plantar Fasciitis. This is an inflammation of the fascia or connective tissue on the bottom of the foot where it attaches to the heel bone or calcaneus.
  • Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH)
  • Ankylosing spondylitis is both inflammatory disorders that affect the body's ligaments and cause bone spurs in the spine.

Q: What does it mean if I have an anterior osteophyte in my lower cervical vertebrae?

A: An osteophyte is sometimes called a “bone spur.” These are extra pieces of bone. The word “anterior” refers to the front part, and your cervical vertebrae are located in the upper or neck region of your spine. It sounds as though you have an extra bony growth on the front part of one of the vertebrae in your neck area. Sometimes these osteophytes can press on nerves and cause pain or numbness or tingling in the arms or the hands.

Q:  I have osteophytes of the cervical spine. Can I have manual treatment?

A: Osteophytes or “bone spurs” of the cervical spine can sometimes be caused by a great deal of degeneration. It is advisable to avoid any kind of manipulation because degeneration can cause instability of the spine. Manipulation may cause severe injury in this case. It’s better to try to treat your condition with a gentle range of motion and some isometric exercises.

Q:  Does anyone know what a “barnacle” is?  My father had leg pain and was seen by his physician. The X-ray showed a “barnacle” on one of the bones in his leg.  I could see a bump on the X-ray picture, and I can also feel it a little under the skin. What is the medical word for this?

A:  This might be an osteophyte. They are also sometimes called “bone spurs.”

Q:  What exactly are bone spurs? Do they cause pain? I have extreme pain in my heel. Could it be a bone spur?

A:  Bone spurs are extra bony outgrowths that form along or near edges of bones. They aren’t painful themselves, but they can cause pain when they irritate nerves and bones that are nearby.

Q: What are the treatment options for bone spurs?

  • Anti-inflammatory medications. This help both to relieve pain and to reduce the inflammation caused by the bone spurs.
  • Steroids. In some cases, an injection of a steroid into the joint can help reduce pain from bone spurs.
  • Physical therapy. It may not able to remove bone spurs but it can help with some of the symptoms related to them. If one has a loss of motion in a joint caused by bone spurs, physical therapy can help strengthen the surrounding muscles and increase the motion in the joints.
  • Surgery. The goal of surgery is to remove the bone spurs to allow for a more normal joint or to remove the pressure on muscles, tendons, ligaments, or nerves.
  • Orthotics. Special pads or inserts for shoes called orthotics to help take the pressure off the bone spurs.
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Questions & Answers
Q:
What is the best way to treat permanent back and neck pain and stiffness?
A:

Here are some tips:

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep with a cervical pillow

Orthopedic or cervical pillows are made with special contours to support the space beneath the neck and head. They are also more concave for the head and provide more support to the neck.

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep on your back

The best position to lie to sleep is on your back. If you sleep on your stomach or on your side, make sure your pillow is not too thick. It should raise your head no more than 4 to 6 inches. This will keep your neck and head from turning to either side.

Neck Pain Tips: Position your computer screen at eye level

While you are working at a computer, sit comfortably in your chair with your computer in front of you. Close your eyes and then open them. When you open your eyes, you should see the middle of the computer screen. If your gaze is not in the middle of the screen, adjust the height of the screen using items like books.

To keep your head from gradually drifting forward, take frequent breaks to stretch. Getting up to walk around at least once every half-hour is one of the best neck pain tips.

Neck Pain Tips: Use a telephone headset

Never hold a phone between your shoulder and your ear. Use a headset or other hands-free system to talk on the phone and avoid abusing your neck and spine.

Neck Pain Tips: Exercise your neck muscles

One of the best neck pain tips is using the chin tuck. You can do this often throughout the day. In addition to helping strengthen the muscles that hold the head in alignment over the shoulders, it also helps strengthen the scalene and sub-occipital muscles.

Read more tips here: Neck Pain Tips: Sleeping, Posture, Exercising, Hydration & Prevention

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Temed Holdings
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Q:
What is the best treatment for neck pain and shoulder Pain?
A:

One of the best treatment for neck pain and shoulder pain is exercises:

Neck Pain Exercises: Neck Extension

  1. To begin this neck pain exercise, sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Looking straight ahead, tuck your chin slightly (starting position)
  3. Place the palm of your hand on the back of your neck, at the base of your head
  4. Apply slight forward pressure with your hand, while resisting the forward motion of your neck and head
  5. Hold for a count of 5 and return to the starting position and relax
  6. Repeat the neck pain exercises 5-10 times

Neck pain exercises: Side bend

  1. Sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Looking straight ahead, tuck your chin slightly (starting position)
  3. Place your left hand, palm down, on the left side of your head (around your ear)
  4. Slightly push your head to the right side with your hand, while resisting the sideways motion of your neck and head
  5. Hold for a count of 5 and return to the starting position and relax.
  6. Repeat 5-10 times
  7. Repeat the neck pain exercises with the other side.

Neck pain exercises: Neck flexion

  1. Sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Looking straight ahead, tuck your chin slightly (starting position)
  3. Place the tips of your fingers on your forehead
  4. Slightly push your head backward with your fingers, while resisting the backward motion of your neck and head
  5. Hold for a count of 5 and return to the starting position and relax.
  6. Repeat the neck pain exercises 5-10 times

More exercises here: Neck Pain Exercises

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Temed Holdings
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Q:
How do I reduce the shoulder and neck pain?
A:

Here are some tips:

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep with a cervical pillow

Orthopedic or cervical pillows are made with special contours to support the space beneath the neck and head. They are also more concave for the head and provide more support to the neck.

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep on your back

The best position to lie to sleep is on your back. If you sleep on your stomach or on your side, make sure your pillow is not too thick. It should raise your head no more than 4 to 6 inches. This will keep your neck and head from turning to either side.

Neck Pain Tips: Position your computer screen at eye level

While you are working at a computer, sit comfortably in your chair with your computer in front of you. Close your eyes and then open them. When you open your eyes, you should see the middle of the computer screen. If your gaze is not in the middle of the screen, adjust the height of the screen using items like books.

To keep your head from gradually drifting forward, take frequent breaks to stretch. Getting up to walk around at least once every half-hour is one of the best neck pain tips.

Neck Pain Tips: Carry weight evenly

Many people make the mistake of carrying a heavy briefcase or their purse on their shoulder or on one side of their body. Doing this causes strain in the muscles and leads to pain.

Remove non-essentials from your briefcase or purse. Consider using a backpack to evenly distribute the weight across your shoulders. If you choose to carry a purse or backpack, keep your shoulders level while carrying it.

Neck Pain Tips: Maintain a proper posture

The most common posture contributing to neck pain is the “head-and-shoulders-forward” posture. In this position, the neck slopes forward, putting the head in front of the shoulders.

In this position, the head pulls the upper back forward also in a slumped position. This places a strain on the entire spinal column.

More tips here: Neck Pain Tips: Sleeping, Posture, Exercising, Hydration & Prevention

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Temed Holdings
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