By definition, a bone spur is a result caused due to excessive bone tissue formed around a damaged joint. Known more commonly as osteophytes, the occurrence is due to response shown by the body to the damaged joint. Irrespective of the name, which often templates as something sharp, a bone spur, is round and smooth. Naturally speaking, the importance of their presence ensures protection to the weakened joints.

Are Bone Spurs Genetic?

Due to the genetic variations in parents and ancestors, there is a likelihood of the occurrence of a bone spur at the time of birth. Although it may not occur directly, it does develop in different forms that affect the spinal cord, which eventually leads to the development of the bone spur. The following are the conditions that can turn into a bone spur at birth or later:

  1. Osteoarthritis of spine – the occurrence is due to breakdown of cartilage layer along the facet joints
  2. Degenerative disc disease – deterioration of spinal discs, which separate the vertebrae and causes stress
  3. Spinal stenosis – narrowness developed in the spinal canal
  4. Foraminal stenosis – tightening of the passage formed due to the facet joints.

Speaking about the chances for the occurrence of the bone spur, people possessing a family history with any one of the conditions as mentioned above have a high ratio.

Is Treatment Required for Bone Spurs?

Although they may not seem to be troublesome for many, bone spurs can cause problems at times that require attention. For example, the limited amount of area available within the spine can exert pressure on the sensitive nerve tissue leading to unbearable pain. Another example is the weakness, tingling sensation, and radiating pain occurring due to the compression of a nerve root due to the bone spur. Therefore, it has become necessary to understand how well the pain radiates and persistent. Depending on the pain and recurrence, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention, as further delay can lead to severe situations making it impossible for a recovery.

Risk Factors of Bone Spurs

As a bone spur is a genetic disease, the cause for the development for the same could be from birth or at a point during the growth. However, one of the standard factors that cause the risk factor is the natural weakening of the spine. Due to the weakening as well as spine aging, small nubs of the bone appear around the facet and vertebrae region. The occurrence of such development is due to spinal arthritis or osteophytes, which form in the joints that help in stabilizing the vertebrae.

Although bone spurs remain unnoticeable and appear small, they have the possibility to grow into a large quantity that is capable of pressing a specific nerve in the spine. During this action, it is possible for any individual to experience discomfort and sudden pain.

Causes of Bone Spurs

The cause of a bone spur occurs over a period. The important reason behind its appearance is due to deterioration of the spinal cord or joints. Repetitive motion and weight gain at the two important components that exert excessive pressure on the spine or joints. While a few of these are controllable, others such as age and genetics have no control thus making it difficult to improve the condition or decrease the risk of developing bone spurs.

Common causes include:

  1. Disk or joint degeneration
  2. Genetics
  3. History of injury
  4. Nutrition
  5. Poor posture.

When there is an increase in the size of the bone spur, it even causes an impact on the nearby nerves, leading to the following symptoms - pain, muscle weakness, numbness, and pinching sensation.

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Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: November 13, 2017

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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