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Spine and Back Health

Have spurs on my upper spine

04/09/2008

Question:

I have spurs on my upper spine. Can anything be done for me? Can anything be done for this problem? And if so, who and what type of doctor do I see? Please help me if you can. Thank you.

Answer:

Hello, thank you for your question. Your question did not include the most important part, which is: "What are your symptoms?" The majority of the population (especially after a certain age) have bone spurs in various places in their spines - most people that have these spurs don't even know it, and don't have symptoms from it. Bone spurs can, however, result in symptoms of pain in the spine, or if they press on nerves they can cause pain, numbness or tingling in an arm or leg. If these symptoms are present, you should be evaluated by your regular doctor.

Treatment often can be successful with some anti-inflammatory medication, and maybe some physical therapy. If that doesn't work, or if your doctor finds signs of nerve dysfunction (by performing a neurologic exam during your physical exam), you can be referred to a spine specialist for further evaluation. I would recommend a neurosurgeon, but you could also see an orthopedic spine surgeon. Physiatrists (not the same as a psychiatrist), also known as "rehab docs" and/or pain management specialists also participate in non-surgical treatment of people with these problems. I hope this answers your question. Good luck.

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Response by:

David J Hart, MD David J Hart, MD
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University