Bone spurs are extra bony growths mainly on the edges of bones. Since bones are made up of calcium, spurs are nothing but extra deposits of calcium present in the bones. Osteophyte is another name given for bone spurs. Spurs can be asymptomatic or painful leading to limited movement of joints. They usually develop with growing age and are commonly seen in the joints, where two bones meet.
Bone spurs also develop in areas where tendons, cartilage and ligaments are attached to the bone. People suffering from osteoarthritis and other degenerative changes in bones usually have bone spurs in joints.Bone spur develops when there is repeated wear and tear between the two bones in a joint or the tendons and cartilage that are attached to the bone.
At least 50 percent of the people above the age of 60 have osteophytes somewhere in their body. Bone spur is common in neck (cervical spine), lower back (lumbar spine), knee joint, heel and shoulders. Bone spur in neck is a sign of aging and they are not a concern unless they lead to neck pain or any nerve related problems.
What Causes Bone Spurs In The Neck?
Bone spurs develop when the joint gets damaged.One of the functions of the joint is to bear weight. But since the joint is damaged, more surface area is needed to bear the weight. Thus it is a natural response of the bone to form another bone like strong structure at the damaged site. Calcium begins to get deposited in this area which later on becomes an extension of the bone and we call it a bone spur or osteophyte.
Bone spurs are tiny overgrowth of bones. Constant rubbing and stress between the bones is one of the reasons for formation of bone spur. For this reason, people suffering from osteoarthritis develop spurs. In the same way, inflammation and rubbing of tendon which attaches to bones can lead to bone spur at that particular site. Bone spurs can also occur due to aging without any pathology in the bone.
Bone spurs in the neck can occur on any one or more cervical vertebra of the spine. There are seven cervical vertebras. When the ligaments and tendons that are attached to cervical vertebras are damaged or inflamed, it leads to development of bone spurs.
Besides osteoarthritis of cervical vertebra, traumatic injury on the neck and poor posture can be a reason for bone spur in neck.
Home Remedies To Treat Bone Spurs In Neck
Bone spurs in neck can remain asymptomatic. As such they themselves are not painful. However, the symptoms of pain and tingling in hands can arise when the bone spur advances and compresses cervical spinal nerve or cervical vertebral disc. Patients may complain of pain, neck rigidity, tingling numbness in hands and radiating pain in the hands. In such a situation, treatment becomes necessary.
Usually conventional treatment given by doctors is anti inflammatory medication for few days. Once pain and stiffness subsides, patient is encouraged to start physiotherapy exercise. Few home remedies accompanied with conventional treatment enhances the healing process.
- Apply cold fomentation followed with warm fomentation on neck. The initial inflammation subsides effectively with the treatment.
- Turmeric is also effective anti inflammatory natural remedy. Take a pinch of turmeric powder with one teaspoon of honey twice in a day when there is severe pain in neck and hands. A gentle massage with warm linseed oil on the neck is also a useful remedy for dealing symptoms of bone spur in neck.
- Homeopathic remedies Arnica, Calcarea flour, and Ruta are effective remedies for treating bone spurs in neck and other areas of the body.
- Natural anti inflammatory supplements such as Bromelain, shark liver oil, evening primerose oil and glucosamine sulfate can be tried as alternative measures.