As we get older, the discs and the joints of our spine and other bony structures undergo changes; some of these changes are
degenerative in nature. While degeneration occurs even in the healthiest of people, it can be magnified by a number of things
such as poor nutrition, an injury, repetitive strains or bad posture.
Bone spurs are additional bone material,
or overgrowths, and have been attributed to a wide variety of ailments. Also called osteophytes, bone spurs are manufactured
by your body in response to a breakdown in existing bony structures. Sometimes, bone spurs can exert pressure on nerves, and
this leads to pain.
In people with arthritis, for example, bone spurs develop in the joint or disc spaces,
where cartilage has begun to break down or deteriorate. Bone spurs sometimes block the spaces where nerve roots exit the spinal
Bone spurs in the spine can be particularly painful. One area where bone spurs seem to be prevalent
is in the disc spaces between vertebrae. As the discs and their attached ligaments begin to wear down, the body begins to
thicken the ligaments. Over time, the ligaments can calcify and shed small fragments. The presence of this additional material
in the spine can cause compression and pain.
Many of us can develop bone spurs in one part of our body or
another, and not even know they exist. Some of us, however, are not so fortunate. Osteophytes can cause pain in the neck and
back, as well as radiating type pains through the extremities such as the arms and legs.