Bone Spurs in the Neck

Bone Spurs in NeckBone spurs in the neck (osteophytes) are bony growths that can be responsible for neck pain and back pain.  These bone spurs may occur following a fracture of the vertebrae, due to rheumatoid arthritis, ligament degeneration, whiplash, or through general wear and tear resulting in spondylitis.  When the spine is destabilized for some reason, be it an acute injury, degenerative disc disease, or other cause, this can cause the bones in the spine to grow in an effort to provide a wider surface to relieve instability.  The downside of this bone growth is that the nerves and blood vessels in the spine may then become trapped or compressed leading to neck pain, ischaemia, and progressive muscle weakness when not addressed.

Causes of Bone Spurs in the Neck

Those who have suffered a whiplash injury are more likely to develop bone spurs in the neck over time due to the long-term damage that whiplash can cause to the ligaments and muscles that support the neck, as well as the bones in the spine themselves.  Bone spurs are also more likely to occur in those with certain professions, such as gymnasts, surfers, construction workers, and some pilots who spend years experiencing excessive G-force and neck strain.  Carrying excess body weight is another trigger for bone spur development as more pressure is exerted on the skeleton to hold up the bigger body mass.  Where ligaments and tendons become inflamed or calcified these can also lead to bone spur growth as they may rub against the bones in the cervical spine causing damage and leading to osteophyte development as the bone tries to repair itself.  Conditions such as plantar fasciitis are an example of this sort of degeneration.

Symptoms of Bone Spurs in the Neck

The symptoms of bone spurs in the neck can include neck pain itself, along with numbness or altered sensation in the neck, shoulders, jaw, face, upper back, and down into the arms and hands.  A bone spur causing a pinched nerve in the neck will elicit different symptoms according to the nerve that is being put under duress.  Some people may develop difficulty swallowing, or even breathing problems, if the laryngeal nerve becomes trapped and damaged, whereas others may develop an odd burning sensation in their little finger, followed by a numbness and weakness of the digit.  Where bone spurs are causing blood vessel compression a patient may become dizzy or experience more frequent headaches if brain circulation is affected.  Pain maps are helpful to physicians in determining the likely cervical spinal level at which a problem exists and this can then be confirmed by diagnostic imaging such as X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.  In some cases the bone spur may itself be asymptomatic with a disc bulge or herniation the actual culprit of neck pain or radicular pain.

Treating Bone Spurs in the Neck

Neck pain due to bone spurs in the neck is unlikely to be alleviated by anti-inflammatory medications such as NSAIDs as the problems is mechanical rather than inflammatory.  These drugs may reduce symptoms for some patients but neck surgery is usually the preferred method of treatment as it is important to decompress the cervical spine to allow nerves to heal before the damage becomes intractable.  Where NSAIDs offer significant relief for the patient’s symptoms it is often a sign that the bone spur is not actually the cause of pain but, rather, another problem exists which is inflammatory in nature.  A physician may use a selective nerve root block to determine whether a specific nerve in the neck is pinched and causing symptoms, although many surgeons are reluctant to carry out such a procedure due to the complex and tightly packed nature of the cervical spine.

In cases where a bone spur in the neck is deemed the cause of neck pain and/or radicular pain a foraminotomy may be carried out in order to open up the channel through which the cervical nerves exit the spine.  The foramen are common sites of osteophyte growth and some minimally invasive back surgeries such as a microforaminotomy may be available to patients.  More extensive bone spur growth, where multiple levels are implicated in neck pain, will generally require more invasive surgery to ensure the full removal of the osteophytes.  The majority of patients who experience failed back surgery syndrome do so because of inaccurate diagnosis initially, or because not all of the compressing material in the spine was removed during surgery.

Other Causes of Bone Spurs in the Neck

Conditions such as Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis (DISH) can also be to blame for bone spur growth in the neck.  In this condition, which involves abnormal cell division, the osteophytes actually occur in the ligaments of the neck causing them to harden and lose flexibility.  In extreme cases the ligaments may need severing and the spine stabilizing through fusion, especially where tightened neck ligaments are causing an abnormal curvature of the spine to develop.  Spinal curvature may also be a result of scoliosis, spondylosis, and ankylosing spondylitis, although scoliosis is usually more pronounced lower down in the spine.

In some cases the growth of bone spurs in the neck can actually be advantageous in slowing down or halting cartilage degeneration as they may stabilize the neck as the body itself intended.  On occasion however, osteophytes may detach from the normal bone and these loose fragments from bone spurs in the neck can cause blockages in the synovial fluid or obstruction of proper joint movement, therefore requiring removal by surgery.

604 replies
  1. Mark Josefsberg
    Mark Josefsberg says:

    “but neck surgery is usually the preferred method of treatment as it is important to decompress the cervical spine to allow nerves to heal before the damage becomes intractable. ”
    Well this is pretty scary. I had (HAD) bone spurs in my neck causing extreme pain for months. The pain radiated down into my right hand. Luckily, before I read anything like the above sentence, I found an Alexander Technique teacher. Bone spurs can be re-absorbed by the body, as mine were. The Alexander Technique helps stop the actions which caused the bone spurs in the first place. It gets to the root of the problem. Don’t get the surgery before trying it. I got so into it, I became a teacher here in NYC, but there are Alexander Technique teachers all around the world. I’ve been pain free for about 15 years.

  2. marissa m. villagracia
    marissa m. villagracia says:

    the result of my x-ray cervical APL = spurs are seen at the margins of C4 and cervical spine is straightened likely due to muscle spasm. can you give medical advise about this. thank you very much.

  3. julie ryland
    julie ryland says:

    Can bone spurs that break off cause problems with larynx, thyroid too? Every once in awhile I am unable to turn my head at all. My grandmother and mother had extreme kyphosis of the back ( hunched way over), I walk about 12 miles a day etc, very active exercise wise, I don’t seem to look like that too much yet, hoping the exercise helps. I am short of breath, hoarse, cant sing, loud vibration when I talk, having hearing problems now too, tingles in my upper back between shoulder blades, nodules now on thyroid, can this all be from my neck bones? I have thought that for a while now. HELP.

  4. ปวดเอว
    ปวดเอว says:

    There are so many causes of back pain, that
    it’s hard to find a cure- all for it. Yes, stomach flu can cause leg pain
    due to dehydration. Heavy lifting is one of the most common causes
    of muscle strain or sprain of back muscles.

  5. casino online
    casino online says:

    hello my lovely stopforumspam member

    Welcome to Grosvenor Casinos, where you can play a wide range of casino games, from slots to poker, blackjack, and roulette! There’s something for everyone here – become a member of the casino to have the best of online casino gaming. Our Sportbook offers a range of sports betting odds and is available for pre event or in play bets 24/7 and 365 days of the year. Whether you’re here for football tournaments or the latest betting odds for horse racing, Tennis, Golf, Cricket and even Rugby Union, you are covered.

  6. krffucf
    krffucf says:

    Cмотреть новая серия онлайн, Озвучка – Перевод TVShows, LostFilm, алексфильм, байбако Холостячка 2 сезон 7 серия смотреть онлайн Проект «Анна Николаевна», Космические войска, Черное зеркало, Вампиры средней полосы, Эпидемия, Миллиарды – все серии, все сезоны.

  7. Laure Nitcher
    Laure Nitcher says:

    That is really fascinating, You’re an excessively skilled blogger. I’ve joined your feed and stay up for searching for more of your magnificent post. Additionally, I’ve shared your website in my social networks|

  8. Ignacia Kempel
    Ignacia Kempel says:

    Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favourite justification appeared to be at the net the simplest factor to keep in mind of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed at the same time as people consider concerns that they plainly do not recognize about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing with no need side-effects , people could take a signal. Will probably be again to get more. Thanks|

  9. Sid Topliffe
    Sid Topliffe says:

    I do accept as true with all the concepts you have offered to your post. They are very convincing and will definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are too short for starters. May just you please extend them a little from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.|

  10. Jarrod Sparacio
    Jarrod Sparacio says:

    Hi there! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I genuinely enjoy reading your blog posts. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics? Thank you so much!|

  11. Aurora Limberg
    Aurora Limberg says:

    I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your blog. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more pleasant for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme? Outstanding work!|

  12. Hien Becklin
    Hien Becklin says:

    I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your website. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme? Outstanding work!|

  13. quvubc
    quvubc says:

    Вечер с Владимиром Соловьевым Вечер с Владимиром Соловьевым Вечер с Владимиром Соловьевым

    400284675393329707217933365442231 98206807123594191960260214683226144 5545962530997481025535171974640411
    8419338 1765333 1410524 112152 7904061 329255 2421619 8580401 9571449 6553839 9380767 4530575 4983296 1485225 1209201
    8548506 4547303 2007129 4038528 7340923 9453178 9886425 3295072 8477297 7287746 9221548 7808360 5346738 8670896 9012836

  14. Anissa Vonseeger
    Anissa Vonseeger says:

    Nice post. I used to be checking continuously this blog and I am impressed! Very useful information specifically the remaining phase 🙂 I care for such information a lot. I was looking for this particular info for a very long time. Thank you and best of luck. |

  15. Wally Reels
    Wally Reels says:

    Woah! I’m really digging the template/theme of this website. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s hard to get that “perfect balance” between superb usability and appearance. I must say you have done a awesome job with this. Also, the blog loads super quick for me on Internet explorer. Superb Blog!|

  16. Lorena Erin
    Lorena Erin says:

    Hi there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it’s really informative. I am going to watch out for brussels. I will be grateful if you continue this in future. A lot of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!|

  17. Shaunta Gibes
    Shaunta Gibes says:

    you are really a good webmaster. The web site loading speed is amazing. It sort of feels that you are doing any unique trick. Moreover, The contents are masterpiece. you’ve performed a wonderful task in this subject!|

  18. says:

    certainly like your web site however you need to check the spelling on several of your posts.
    Several of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very bothersome to tell the reality on the other hand I’ll certainly come back again.

  19. says:

    Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
    I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message
    home a little bit, but instead of that, this is excellent blog.

    A great read. I will certainly be back.

  20. says:

    I just could not depart your website prior to suggesting that I extremely enjoyed the standard info an individual provide to
    your guests? Is gonna be again regularly to investigate cross-check new posts

  21. Sterling Telman
    Sterling Telman says:

    Cool blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere? A design like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog jump out. Please let me know where you got your theme. With thanks|