What does a bone spur on the spine feel like?

What is a bone spur?

Healthy bone tissue in the human body has a porous, yet sturdy and smooth texture. That applies to the bones in the spine as well, especially to the vertebrae and facet joints. With aging, along other factors, some people tend to develop tiny, bulbous-looking bony growths close to the joints on their spine, which are referred to as bone spurs, or osteophytes.

If prior to the bone spurs’ occurrence the surface and the edges of spinal bones was smooth, these growths can make the edges of the vertebrae and facet joints appear bumpy. More than that, apart from the change in the appearance of the bone, they can also grow into the spinal canal and obstruct the passage of the spinal cord and spinal nerve roots.

How do bone spurs appear? (Causes)

Bone spurs are primarily caused by degenerative factors (aging). Although aging itself is not the cause of bone spurs, it is the changes that occur in the human body, and more precisely the spine, that can lead to the development of bone spurs on the spine. Apart from aging, some other factors to consider include:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Poor posture, especially if this has been present for a prolonged period of time, because the additional pressure that is applied on the spine from incorrect posture, can slowly damage the bony tissues
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Repeated physical stress applied to the spine
  • Degeneration of the facet joints
  • A trauma to the spine that was significant enough to cause damage


Back pain and other symptoms that occur due to these bony growths may affect any of the three main regions of the spine (lumbar spine, thoracic spine, and cervical spine). Additionally, other symptoms that a patient may experience in this case include:

  • Neck pain, which is an extension of back pain, that occurs in the cervical or neck region of the spine
  • Nerve compression
  • Spinal cord compression (although both nerve and spinal cord compression may occur together in some instances)
  • Neck or back stiffness
  • Weakness, tingling, numbness, or pins and needles in the spine
  • Referred pain or sensations of weakness, tingling or numbness in either the arms or legs
  • Some people may also experience limited mobility

What does a bone spur on the spine feel like?

Because bone spurs do not necessarily cause symptoms, some people may feel nothing at all. For others, a bone spur can feel quite painful, as this is one of the main symptoms. As previously stated, osteophytes have a bumpy shape, adding to the already existing bone structure of the spine, taking of additional space in one’s back.

Can you feel a bone spur on the spine by touching the affected region?

Because bone spurs can occur close to any joint of the body, it is not uncommon to be able to feel the bump caused by the osteophyte if it occurs in parts of the body that are more exposed, such as the fingers on one’s hands. However, when it comes to bony growths of the spine, you may not be able to feel them through touch, especially if they occur on the inner part of your spinal column.

How are bone spurs treated?

If you suffer from any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is important to seek medical advice and obtain an accurate diagnosis, as the symptoms of bone spurs can be caused by other issues as well.

In order to complete this step, a spinal specialist will ask for a detailed medical history and conduct a physical examination on the affected region. Provided that bone spurs cannot be seen with the naked eye, you may be required to have some imaging tests, such as a CT scan or an MRI scan.

Once your diagnosis is confirmed, you may proceed to the next step, the treatment/ pain management plan. Management and treatment options for bone spurs include:

  • Physical therapy to alleviate the pain caused by the osteophytes. This is more of a management method, and does not actually treat the bone overgrowths
  • Resting, so that no additional pressure is placed on the spine though physical activities
  • Anti-inflammatory medication to temporarily reduce and manage the pain
  • Injections in the spine to reduce pain for a limited period of time
  • Surgery as a last resort.

However, if you wish to avoid all of these invasive methods, and manage the pain caused by osteophytes in a way that is 100% natural and side-effect free, try our solution:


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