What are the causes of lumbar spine bone spurs?

Bone spurs or osteophytes are bony extensions that develop on the perimeters of bones due to wear and tear or the natural aging process of the bones. It is important to note that bone spurs prove moderately prevalent among individuals over 60 years old but does not always result to back pain.

Take note that these bony growths are not painful but places pressure on the neighboring structures such as the nerves and can cause pain or other accompanying symptoms. Due to the heightened amount of movement and stress or strain to the area, the lumbar spine is highly vulnerable to the enlargement of bone spurs.

Once symptoms from the following conditions are present, it might indicate the presence of bone spurs. The individual should consult the doctor for further assessment as well as provide the appropriate treatment.

Lumbar spine bone spurs

Due to the heightened amount of movement and stress or strain to the area, the lumbar spine is highly vulnerable to the enlargement of bone spurs.


Osteoarthritis involves the breakdown process that results to the destruction of cartilage that separates the individual bones. Once the cartilage is destroyed, it allows the bones to rub against each other and excessive wear and tear which results to the development of bone spurs over time.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and many adults over 50 years old can develop a certain degree of degeneration in the lumbar spine area. Injuries, excessive weight or postural deterioration can result to the development of osteoarthritis.

Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH)

Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) is a disease that often leads to the development of large-sized bone spurs all over the spine. This condition instigates the calcification or hardening of the ligaments at the areas of attachment in the spine and then develops into bone spurs.

The early symptoms of DISH include pain and stiffness and loss of range of motion. It is still undecided what triggers DISH but definite factors are present that might increase the possibility of ending up with one later on. The factors include being male, prolonged use of retinoid medications, those who have diabetes and older individuals over the age of 50 years old. Take note that bone spurs that develops with DISH can become large in size and cause various symptoms that can affect daily activities at home or at work.

Aging process

Most of the bone spurs develop due to some disease process but can develop on their own in the absence of disease. Even older adults have no indications of osteoarthritis or other disease. As the body stages to age, the joints often become unstable and could no longer endure demanding movements.

The normal response of the body to instability in a joint is to grow new bone in an attempt to stabilize and strengthen the area. The bone spurs often develop due to this process. Staying mobile and active during the later years of life with regular exercise can help prevent the formation of bone spurs.


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