As you age, your body changes in many ways, sometimes for the worse. One of the less desirable changes your body may undergo is the development of bone spurs. Bone spurs are not in themselves painful, so you may not know you have one. However, if it compresses your nerves and bones it can cause many symptoms. Knowing these symptoms can help you determine if you have a bone spur and if medical attention is necessary.
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Because the bones of the cervical spine point inward as opposed to outward like the rest of the spine, when a bone spur develops it can put pressure on your oesophagus and airways. When pressure is found on the oesophagus, you may experience difficulty swallowing. The pressure on your airways can make it painful to take a breath. A bone spur can also place pressure on the blood vessels that run from your heart to your brain and pass through the cervical spine. When this occurs, it restricts blood flow to your brain. This can result in dizziness and trouble focusing.
When bone spurs rub against the bones in the neck or against the muscles, you can experience dull pain. Usually the pain is in the neck and becomes aggravated when you stand or walk. However, if the bone spur pinches a nerve, the pain will be more severe. It can also spread pain into your shoulders. Often, when the pain begins to radiate, a headache accompanies it.
Because the cervical spine is where the nerves that run from your brain to your arms are located, compression against these nerves can cause problems with the arms. Generally, the problems begin with pain, similar to that of a herniated disk. Numbness usually follows, resulting in a loss of strength in the arm muscles. The weakened muscles can also lose range of motion.
Generally, spinal stenosis occurs with the natural wear and tear on the cervical spine; however, according to Spine Health, bone spurs can lead to it as well when they cause the spinal canal to become narrower. Usually when a bone spur pinches a nerve, the pain does not affect the legs; however, when it results in spinal stenosis you will experience weakness in your legs, numbness in your arms and legs, and a loss of sensation in your arms and legs.
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