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Though bone spurs in the neck are not typically fatal, they can be very disruptive when left untreated. One of the most common symptoms of a bone spur in the neck is increased pain, especially during activity. Other common symptoms include severe headaches, respiratory disruptions, and problems moving the neck and head. In some cases, normal digestion can also be affected, due to an inability to swallow food.
While a bone spur in the neck may result in numerous symptoms, one of the most common is pain. Typically, a relatively dull pain that runs down the back and neck is associated with a bone spur. Some individuals who suffer from this condition may also experience pain that radiates into the shoulders, and may even be felt in the arms and legs. Regardless of the area, the pain usually increases in intensity as a result of activity, and simple movements such as standing or walking may be unbearable.
Often, a bone spur in the neck can cause severe headaches. This occurs when the bone spur compresses a vein, which results in restricted blood flow. As with the general pain associated with bone spurs, headaches caused by this condition often increase or decrease in intensity depending on the person's position and activity level. Over-the-counter pain killers will typically relieve headaches caused by bone spurs in the neck, though in severe cases, prescription medications may be required.
Serious respiratory disruptions can result if a bone spur occurs in certain parts of the neck. Increased pressure on the bronchi, larynx, and trachea can lead to inflammation. This often makes breathing difficult or even impossible.
Immobility often occurs as a result of a bone spur in the neck. When a vertebra suffers from deterioration and a bone spur begins to develop, it often results in decreased neck flexibility. This can include not only a decrease in the ability to twist the head from side to side, but may also affect the ability to bend the head forward and back.
Bone spurs in the neck can make it very painful and sometimes even impossible for affected individuals to swallow food. This affects the person's digestion and nutrition levels. In these cases, surgery or other intensive treatment is often required.