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Osteophytes (Bone spurs) are growths in bone tissue that can form in several areas in the body—including the spine, shoulders, knees and fingers. Bone spurs typically form when discs or cartilage tissue that normally cushion bones and prevent them from rubbing together are injured, damaged or wear down over time. When bones touch, it can lead to significant pain and a diminished range of motion. Bone spurs in the neck can potentially restrict normal blood flow to the brain or interfere with normal breathing and swallowing.
A bone spur can occur in area of the spine, including the cervical spine in the neck region, as well as the lumbar spine in the lower back.
Symptoms associated with bone spurs include pain and inflammation in the back or neck that can be accompanied by muscle spasms or weakness, tingling or burning sensations, numbness and diminished flexibility in the back, neck, knees or shoulders. In some cases, bone spurs in the spine can press on the spinal cord or nerves triggering pain that radiates down through your buttocks and the back of the thighs.