While the actual bone spurs do not cause pain, if they rub against nearby nerves in your spinal column, they can cause tremendous amounts of pain in your neck or back, radiating arm and leg pain, weakness in the extremities, numbness and, in some cases, disability.
Cervical bone spurs typically form when the body attempts to compensate for deteriorating bone mass. These projections of bone, also called osteophytes, contribute to the narrowing of the cervical spinal canal, projecting directly into the space reserved for nerves or putting pressure on the spinal discs. There are basically 4 causes for formation of bone spurs:
1) Aging - Over 40% of people will experience nerve impingement with the development of bone spurs.
2) Osteoarthritis - a joint disorder that causes the cushioning (cartilage) between the bone joints to wear away leading to bone spurs.
3) Disc Degeneration - a gradual deterioration of the discs between the vertebrae of the spine.
4) Traumatic injury and poor posture can also lead to bone spurs on your spine.
Spinal discs are like small cushions between the vertebrae.
When a bone spur presses in on one of them, the disc itself may protrude into the cervical spinal canal, compressing nerves and causing pain and/or numbness in the immediate area as well as in the arms. Bone spurs may also cause a disc to rupture, or herniate.
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