Cervical osteophytes are also known as neck bone spurs and usually occur around the muscle, ligament and tendon attachment areas of the vertebrae. When the ligament and tendon attachments (where they joint to bone) become injured or inflamed this leads to abnormal bone growth in that area and bone spurs develop. It is usually just simple wear and tear during the aging process that causes bone spurs to develop, and this is a normal part of aging. This bone spur formation can be accelerated by cervical (neck) osteoarthritis, trauma to the neck or labor-intensive lifestyles. The condition and process of cervical osteophyte formation is called cervical spondylosis.
Symptoms of osteophytes in the neck
Cervical (neck) osteophytes are not painful until they grow large enough to place pressure on a pain sensitive structure in the neck such as a nerve, intervertebral disc or the spinal cord. When this compression occurs we may get neck pain, neck stiffness, headaches, referred pain into the shoulders, arms and fingers or muscle weakness. In rare cases they can get so big they cause dysphagia or difficulty swallowing.
Treatment of osteophytes in the neck
At Sydney Spine & Sports Centre (S3C) we recognise that prevention is always better than cure. Limiting the risk factors that lead to wear and tear of the neck, in the occupational and sporting sense is always best. Therefore, a huge component of what we do at the spine clinic is educating people on posture, neck pain and healthy spinal habits. We specialise in the non-surgical treatment of spinal conditions and focus on restoring joint motion and sound neck joint mechanics, strengthening exercises and strategies to improve posture. When it comes to the treatment of cervical osteophytes our physiotherapists and chiropractors in Balmain and Dee Why will typically improve your condition and get you pain free with non-surgical treatment options. In some rare cases however there is a need to send you to a surgeon. This will include cases where there is progressive muscle weakness or neural compromise. All of this is tested in our spine clinics on your initial consultation.