Bone spurs also known as osteophytes are abnormal bony growth on a normal bone. They are made up of calcium deposits. Bone spurs are common in people over the age of 50 years. Osteophytes usually develop on neck, heel, knee, and lower back. Bone spurs in spine is common, especially in cervical spine of neck. Bone spurs in neck is not a cause of concern unless it causes pain and tingling etc. Bone spurs can be of two types, one which occurs due to degenerative changes in the bone after certain age.
Causes of Bone Spurs in Neck:
Bone spurs occur in areas where there is constant rubbing of bone. It is usually caused due to degenerative changes in bone and the cartilage surrounding it that develops as a result of aging. The condition is called osteoarthritis. Due to constant wear and tear over a period of time, the cartilage gets damaged. As a result an extra bony growth projects in the area. The usual site of its development is in spinal bones, including the cervical bones in neck. Besides the cartilage, spurs can develop at the site of ligament and tendon attached to the bone. Calcification near the attachment is the cause. Bone spur in neck causes cervical spondylosis a common condition in many people after the age of 40. It occurs as a result of degenerative changes in cervical bone of spine.
Symptoms of Bone Spurs in Neck
Majority cases of bone spurs in neck do not produce any symptoms. They are small in size. The spur in itself is not painful or symptomatic. You can only visualize them on X-ray. However, if neck bone spurs compresses a spinal nerve it can cause pain and other neurological manifestations. It can also encroach on blood vessel, spinal disc, to produce symptoms. There are wide ranges of symptoms exhibited by people suffering from bone spur in neck such as;
- Pain in neck.
- Stiffness in neck.
- Radiating pain in shoulder and arm.
- Tingling and numbness in one or both hands and arm. It may radiate to the fingers.
- Weakness of affected arm and hand. Weakness occurs gradually.
Treatment and Home Remedies:
Asymptomatic bone spur in neck do not require any treatment. Only those that cause pain and other neurological symptoms need attention. Majority cases are treated conservatively. Certain home remedies are effective in alleviating the symptoms. Pain medications may give relief in acute pain, but they cannot be taken for long duration due to their side effect. Following therapy may help in long term.
- Ice fomentation in neck region. It helps to reduce inflammation in the region.
- Applying heat on the painful area of neck will also help in alleviating pain and stiffness. You can gently massage linseed oil in this area. After which mild heat will increase circulation which helps in healing process.
- Turmeric is a natural anti inflammatory remedy. Take a pinch of turmeric in one cup of hot milk daily.
- Calc flour and Arnica are effective homeopathic remedies for bone spur.
- Regular physiotherapy exercise is essential for strengthening neck muscles and ligaments that support the cervical bones.