Before one of my readers came to me in pain, I did not have a clue what bone spurs were. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even know that it was possible for calcium deposits in your bones and joints to cause you pain.
I mean, we are taught that milk (an excellent source of calcium) is excellent for strengthening bones. But as it turns out, calcium has to be deposited in the right place to strengthen the bones.
You see, bone spurs are merely calcium deposits that develop at intersections or edges of bones. They usually grow in joints including shoulders, knees, spine, and hips.
However, they can also grow on the heel and the finger joints. While they may go unnoticed for a while, when activated, they cause sharp pains and tenderness to the surrounding muscles.
This pain will make you aware of movements and parts of your body you did not know even existed. The feeling is similar to the pain experienced after going to the gym for a long while.
In the morning after the workout, you can pinpoint every muscle in your body (even those in your glutes). The only difference is that pain from bone spurs is sharper and more concentrated.
Say you have a heel spur, you would need to wear special shoes to cushion the pressure and ease the pain. But these can be pretty darn expensive.
And since I am a good sport, I will share with you some natural remedies to deal with bone spurs that will not hurt your finances. But first, let’s understand this condition fully.
The Truth About Bone Spurs – What Are They?
Medically speaking, a bone spur is an Osteophyte. Most people like thinking of it as a cause of pain. But this assumption is not exactly right.
True, common sense has it that a protrusion in the bone will cause pain – but this is not always the case. Most people with bone spurs do not experience pain.
As such, undergoing surgery to have the spur removed does not always fix the problem. Bone spurs are by themselves not painful. It is the pressure they put on the surrounding muscles, tissues, and nerves that cause the pain.
An osteophyte is a calcium growth on the bone. This growth can take up many different forms and shapes. It is often discovered by doctors when they are trying to explain the cause of persistent pain in their patients.
The Causes Of Bone Spurs
Doctors do not have functional explanations as to why bone spurs develop. They do, however, provide a number of theories.
Some doctors maintain that bone spurs form following an injury to the tendon or a joint. Following this injury, the body might think that the bone is damaged and embarks on a process of correcting the damage. It does this by adding some bone to the joint. This, in turn, leads to the development of a spur.
Most often, arthritis is the cause of the damage that results in the creation of a bone spur. With age, the cushioning between the bones and joints of the spine may wear down. Additionally, gout, lupus, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis may damage the joints.
Other factors believed to cause bone spurs to include:
- Repetitive activities – it is great to be active. It keeps you healthy and fit. However, repetitive actions can have a downside (I thought this was pretty unfair by the way). People who indulge themselves in carpentry, pitching, and dancing are at risk. The irritation, stiffness, and pain that follow are not always as a result of muscle aches. At times, it may be as a result of a change in joint structure. In such situations, bone spurs could appear in the heels and shoulders – the areas that experience a lot of pressure and are ‘punished’ by these activities.
- Diet – what most people eat is a contributing factor to the development of weak bones, kidney stones, and bone spurs. Some of the ingredients and foods that put you at risk include soda, refined sugars, apple juice, and fluoridated water. It is even worse given that most people do not drink the recommended eight glasses of water (or more) daily. So yes, the next time you plan on grabbing fast food for dinner or lunch, think twice.
- Fashion sense – yes, sadly, fashion is one of the contributors here. Wearing shoes that restrict foot movement as a result of their tightness can damage the bones in your feet. The pressure may first result in pain from plantar fasciitis and later develop bone spurs in an attempt to correct the pressure problem by strengthening the bone.
With that said, here are some facts about bone spurs:
- The bone growth (the bone spur), is usually composed of similar bone tissue to the bone on which it grows.
- Bone spurs do not appear magically and from thin air. Their development is gradual. They will continue to grow over time (though slowly).
- Bone spurs play a part in causing pain, but not directly. While most times they seem to be the cause of all bone pain you should remember, looks can be deceiving. Whether one experiences pain or not is dependent on the location of the bone spur.
Symptoms Of Bone Spurs
Symptoms do not always accompany bone spurs. Numerous persons who have them do not even realize that they have them.
But in some cases, when the bone spur rubs against nearby bones or soft tissues, they cause sudden sharp pain or even causes the loss of normal motion in the affected joint. This is most prevalent in feet, hands, shoulders, knees, and hips.
When the bone spur rubs against the ligaments or tendons, a tear can occur. I need not mention that this tear is insanely painful. These tears are common complications in shoulders, and they often lead to rotator cuff tears.
If the bone spurs grow in the spine, they not only cause pain but a loss of motion. The spine supports the entire body, and as such, this is expected.
In addition to these, they may also pinch the spinal cord or the nerves. The pinching of these nerves leads to tingling, numbness, nerve pain, and weakness in the legs and arms. The condition is referred to as radiculopathy. When the spurs compress the spinal cord, one starts to experience weakness, imbalance, and severe pain.
It is also worth noting that depending on the nerves the bone spurs pinches, one might lose control over the bowels and bladder. For me, this is probably one of the most embarrassing symptoms of all.
Can you imagine an adult having to wear diapers as a result of losing control? Luckily, there is a solution to this problem (we shall look at this later on).
The bone outgrowths, when they are large enough, may start showing under the skin. At this point, they have been around for quite some time, and while they may not be causing you pain, it is essential that you have these removed.
You do not want to walk around looking like Spyke from X-men. Though come to think of it, it would be awesome if you could shoot spikes from your body – a classic case of ‘if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.
Speaking of shooting spikes, you should note that there is a possibility of the bone spurs chipping off and getting stuck in the joint lining.
Medical experts refer to these as loose bodies. These pieces dislodged in the joint make it increasingly difficult to move the affected joint. That said, when you notice a spur in a particular joint, try hard not to exercise or move the joint – you could end up making it worse.
Prevention Of Bone Spurs
Now, no one is immune to developing bone spurs. And while there isn’t anything one can do to prevent bone spurs, there are some ingredients that can help in reducing your risk of developing them. Below is a shortlist of these ingredients.
Yes, I know this sounds like a scary chemical – the kind that is out to melt your bones from the inside, no? Oh well, we can’t all be chemistry nerds.
Anyway, this ingredient is safe and healthy. If anything it is essential to the bone growth cycle. It is acidic and aids the body in getting back a healthy acid/alkaline balance. Shockingly, it is one of the digestive juices found in the stomach. It helps in mineral absorption as well.
Calcium comes in many different forms. But the form of calcium I recommend in this instance is not the kind that is used to build up bone. Instead, it is the kind that is perfect in helping the bone resorption process run smoothly.
Calcium phosphate is a form of calcium found in teeth and bones. I recommend it for this formula as well. Bear in mind that calcium is used by the body to develop healthy bones. As such, you should not remove it from your diet and supplement intake. Actually, a reduction in its consumption is bound to case the creation of bone spurs.
You are aware of vitamin C as a booster of the immune system. But in addition to this, this vitamin is essential for tissue rebuilding after injury and heavy activities. A deficiency of vitamin C will slow down the rebuilding process and weaken the tendons and ligaments.
You should include vitamin C-rich foods in your diet as they will help to provide cushioning by regenerating connective tissues around joints. This way your brain will not think of overcompensating for injuries by developing bone spurs.
This is an essential mineral to the body. It is unfortunate that most of us are missing it in our diets. Why? Well, most soils used in agriculture are depleted of this mineral, and as such, it is not present in the foods we harvest.
Magnesium is essential as it facilitates cells to generate energy. It also assists calcium to build healthy bone. But most importantly, it works as a pain reliever. It achieves this by blocking the pain receptors referred to as NMDA receptors. Glycerophosphate is the best form of magnesium. Since it is acidic, it will not alkalize the tissues and pile up problems to your bone spurs.
Betaine hydrochloric acid
This acid is designed to mimic acids found in the stomach. It helps in breaking minerals naturally. When the body is overly alkaline, calcium and several other minerals are not adequately prepared for absorption in the body. This leads to the development of bone spurs.
I told you guys I am slightly geeky. Do you believe me now? Who would have thought I would know of such ingredients and explain it with such clarity to my Olive Nation?
But aside from these ingredients, you also should:
- Wear wide shoes that provide ample support and cushioning. When buying shoes, ensure they are a perfect size. Always wear thick socks to keep your shoes from rubbing against your feet.
- Exercise regularly. This will help to keep your joints in great shape. It will, in turn, avoid injuries and bone spurs.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
Treatment Of Bone Spurs
The method used to treat bone spurs differs depending on the symptoms that one experiences. Pain is one of the common symptoms. It is usually treated with medication. Anti-inflammatory medications are used. These help in relieving pain and reducing inflammation caused.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend physical therapy which will help in alleviating some bone spur symptoms. Get me right; I am not saying that the therapies can get rid of the bone spurs. They will, however, help with the symptoms.
If you have lost motion in one joint, some physical therapy could help in strengthening the surrounding muscles and ultimately increase motion in the affected area. Physical therapy will include the use of cold packs, ultrasound treatments, and stretching exercises.
In other scenarios, cortisone injections to the joint help in reducing pain levels. A doctor should perform these injections. If they are to be on the spine or hips, an x-ray machine is used as well to guide in its placement.
In severe cases, surgery is recommended. It is designed to get rid of the bone spurs and ease pressure on the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves.
An increasing number of people are looking to essential oils as their savior from most of the symptoms of bone spur pains. A quick search online reveals numerous positive testimonials.
Essential oils are generally concentrates of plant oils and water. The oil is usually extracted through a steaming process or distillation. The essence extracted can be used for medicinal purposes, in cosmetics and perfume, incense and soap.
Given that they are natural, they do not have adverse side effects when used as directed. Each essential oil features its unique properties which are beneficial to the user.
How Useful Are Essential Oils In The Treatment Of Bone Spurs?
Below are some of the best 5 essential oils for bone spurs.
It should not come as a surprise that I have added the grandfather of all essential oils here. This oil has gained popularity courtesy of its numerous health benefits.
Frankincense is derived from the Boswellia Sacra tree. It is a potent anti-inflammatory oil and has excellent pain relief properties. Over the past centuries, it has been used by many to bring down swelling, ease pain and increase circulation.
Given its sedative properties, it features, frankincense is effective in relieving stress and boosting the immune system. Bone spur pain is no match for this essential oil.
It almost seems as though lavender oil can cure just about anything. This works wonders in soothing and relaxing any aching muscles.
Tension and stress often make bone spur symptoms even worse. As such, the sedative properties of this essential oil play a significant role. You can opt to apply this oil directly to the affected joint or add it to your Epsom salt bath.
This essential oil is related to frankincense. If you know bible stories – the birth of Jesus specifically, you know that these two were gifts. So if the wise men thought these fit for a king, it only means they were of great value – and they still are.
Only that the value I refer to here is the pain-relieving properties that they have. Myrrh is extracted from the Commiphora myrrh tree. This tree is common in the Middle East and Africa. It features antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition to this, they stimulate blood flow and reduce tissue swelling. Improved blood flow hastens the healing process.
Wintergreen has for decades been used to relieve muscle and joint pain. There are numerous synthetic versions of this plant available in local drug stores as muscle rubs.
The extract has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties help it to calm nerves and ‘numb’ pain caused by bone spurs.
Needless to say, this oil is derived from peppermint. It works wonders on numerous ailments. Peppermint oil has cooling properties that provide relief to inflammation (swollen and warm joints).
It also has analgesic, anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties which make it an effective pain reliever. Essential oils are fast absorbed into the skin and as such works fast.
Recommended Natural Product For Pain Relief Associated With Bone Spurs
The pain of bone spurs is often described as a knife or pin sticking into the bottom of one’s feet. If you’re after an essential oil blend that can deal with the pain associated with bone spurs naturally, without any side effects or drug interactions, look no further. The L’orpur pain relief blend will do just this!
Essential Oil Recipes For Bone Spurs
1. Bone Spurs Pain Reliever
What you need:
- Wintergreen – 4 drops
- Juniper Berry – 5 drops
- Myrrh – 6 drops
- Arnica oil – 1 oz
Method: you should massage just a few drops of this blend in the affected joint. Massage it 3 times on a daily basis or more if the pain is intense.
2. Natural Remedy Bone Spur Remedy
What you need:
- Balsam Fir – 5 drops
- Roman Chamomile – 4 drops
- Peppermint – 7 drops
- Black seed oil – 1 oz
Method: shake the blend well before use. Apply a few drops on the joint and rub using circular motions. Do this several times daily.
3. Natural Neck Bone Spurs Treatment
What you need:
- Lemon – 3 drops
- Helichrysum – 3 drops
- Wintergreen – 2 drops
- Arnica oil – 8 ml
- Roll-on the bottle (10ml)
Method: Massage the blend on the painful joint. Be careful not to press on the bone spurs. Repeat the massage 3-4 times in a day or more depending on the pain experienced.
4. Heel Spur Blend
What you need:
- Lavender – 5 drops
- Rosemary – 6 drops
- Juniper Berry – 5 drops
- Olive oil – 1 oz
Method: Apply the blend to the painful area in a massaging motion. Wear socks to keep the skin warm. The warmth will improve the efficiency of the blend.
5. Ultimate Bone Spur Blend
What you will need:
- Wintergreen – 4 drops
- Eucalyptus – 3 drops
- Marjoram – 5 drops
- Cypress – 4 drops
- Helichrysum – 2 drops
- Peppermint – 6 drops
- Frankincense – 5 drops
- Coconut oil – 2 oz
Method: apply this blend to the joint twice on a daily basis. Do this for 2 weeks. To speed up the healing process, wrap the affected area using a warm cloth after rubbing the oils. Wrap this warm cloth with a plastic bag and finish off with a towel on top to retain the heat.
6. Peppermint Pain Reliever Blend
What you need:
- Peppermint – 4 drops
- Jojoba oil – 1 tablespoon (or any other carrier oil)
Method: Apply a small amount of this bend to the painful joint and massage it in.
While it might seem like a great thing that bone spurs do not always cause pain, they might actually be doing you more harm than good. Fortunately, you have taken a significant step to know why they form and where they do.
Although they may not have a definite prevention method, you have an idea of how you can reduce the risk of them developing. If you’ve already developed joint problems, the above essential oils and blends will work wonders for you.
If the pain persists, you should visit your doctor for further instructions. I am a good sport who has provided you with useful information, but we cannot negate the importance of visiting your doctor as well. So make it a point to follow your regular checkup schedules.