Back pain or neck pain is very common as the facet joints are inflamed and the neck and back muscles become irritated. Typical symptoms reported by patients include:

  • Dull pain in the neck or lower back when standing or walking
  • Radiating pain into the shoulders (often including headaches) if the cervical spine is affected (See Cervical Bone Spurs)
  • Radiating pain into the rear and thigh if the lumbar spine is affected.

The symptoms of bone spurs are made worse with activity and often improve with rest. Typical symptoms of lumbar bone spurs often improve when an individual is bending forward and flexing at the waist, such as leaning over a shopping cart or over a cane.

Watch: Lumbar Osteophytes (Bone Spurs) Video


As the nerves become compressed, patients with bone spurs complain of several neurological symptoms including:

  • Pain in one or both arms or legs
  • Numbness or tingling in one or both arms or legs
  • Progressive weakness in one or both arms or legs
  • In very rare cases, bowel and bladder incontinence may occur.

Symptoms described above can also be caused by medical conditions other than bone spurs, including but not limited to diabetes, poor blood circulation to the arms and legs, spinal tumors, fractures, and spinal infections.

See When Back Pain May Be a Medical Emergency

Many of the symptoms of bone spurs are similar to generalized arthritis, rheumatism, back strain and muscle fatigue, as well as acute disc ruptures with nerve compression.

Because typical bone spur symptoms are often similar to many other possible conditions, it is important for the patient to consult with appropriate medical professionals to obtain a thorough and accurate diagnosis.