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Question:

Cervical spine bone spurs can cause neurological issues?

Dear Ask The Doctor:
I have been shown bone spurs on my cervical neck. I also have some neurological issues (feeling of electrical jolts in head, tightness in neck, mild headaches, lightheadedness). Are my spurs more likely than not the cause of these symptoms? I also get numbness and tingling in feet and hands (when in awkward positions) more often than I used to. I have random sharp pains in chest area, nowhere near heart.


Answer:

The neurological issues as you described may be due a cervical nerve compression, but it would be important to rule out inflammation of the peripheral nerves at the level of the arm and hand. In the younger patients, cervical radiculopathy may be a result of a disc herniation or an acute injury causing impingement of an exiting nerve. In the older patient, cervical radiculopathy is often a result of spinal canal narrowing from bone (osteophyte: “spur”) formation, decreased disc height and degenerative changes due to aging process. The same described before for the cervical spine applies to the lower back in terms of cause of pain and numbness in the legs, same causes, different spinal level.


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