By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Bone spurs / osteophytes are smooth, hard bumps of extra bone that form on the ends of bones. They are often seen in the joints, the places where two bones meet.
Bone spurs can form on –
Most bone spurs don’t cause problems. But if they rub against other bones or press on nerves, you might experience pain and stiffness.
Osteophytes on the fingers or toes are known as Heberden’s nodes if on the distal interphalangeal joint or Bouchard’s nodes if on the proximal interphalangeal joints.
Read more about Bone spurs – Modern view
Osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease
Injury to a joint or tendon.
When your body thinks the bone is damaged, it tries to fix it by adding bone to the injured area.
Other causes include:
· Overuse – for example, if you run or dance a lot over a long period of time
· Bone problems that you were born with
· Narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis)
Read – Calcaneal Spur (Heel Spur) – Ayurvedic Treatment, Tips and Remedies
Osteophytes form because of the increase in a damaged joint’s surface area. It usually limit joint movement and typically cause pain. Naturally formed on the back of the spine as a person ages and are a clinical sign of degeneration in the spine. In this case, the osteophytes are commonly not the source of back pains, but instead are a sign of an underlying problem.
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Osteophytes only cause problems when they press on nerves, tendons, or other structures in the body. Symptoms include –
· Pain or stiffness when you move the affected joint
· Weakness, numbness, or tingling in your arms or legs if the bone spur presses on nerves in the spine
· Muscle spasms, cramps, or weakness
· Bumps under the skin, seen mainly in the hands and fingers
· Trouble controlling bladder or bowels if the bone spur presses on certain nerves in spine
A bone spur can break off and get stuck in the lining of the joint. This is called a “loose body.” It can lock up the joint and make it hard to move.
Read – Low Bone Density Causes, Ayurvedic Treatment, Diet
· Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
· Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
· Naproxen sodium (Aleve)
· Steroid shots
· Physical therapy to improve joint strength and increase movement
. Surgery to remove the extra bone.
Read – Signs Of Person Having Enriched Bones (Asthi Sara Purusha Lakshanas)
· Wear shoes with a wide toe box, good arch support, and enough cushion to pad each step.
. Wear thick socks to prevent shoes from rubbing.
· Eat diet with calcium and vitamin D to protect your bones.
· Do regular weight-bearing exercises like walking or stair-climbing to keep your bones strong.
· Try to keep the extra pounds off.
Osteophytes In Ayurveda
Probable Ayurvedic correlation
Asthi Vriddhi – Adhyasthi means extra bone tissue / overgrowth of bones formed over the bones. This is one of the symptoms of an increase in bone tissue. The roots of the channels responsible for formation of bone tissue are located in fat tissue and hip bones. Bones are formed after fat tissue. The building blocks for the bone tissue come from fat tissue. If there is deficit fat tissue fire, it will lead to formation of excessive and immature fat tissue. This will further have an impact over the bone tissue. The bone too will be formed in excess and in an immature way. In the other pathway, if the tissue fire of the bone is low, excessive and immature bone is formed. These bones form osteophytes.
Asthi Pradoshaja Vikara – Adhyasthi or abnormal formation of bone tissue / overgrowth of bone is one of the symptoms of vitiation of channels transporting and forming bones.
Read – Diseases Due To Pathological Bone Tissue – Asthi Pradoshaja Rogas
Chikitsa – Treatment principles
Asthi Vriddhi Chikitsa – Treatment to decrease bone tissue formation should be given. Vata is located in the bones. If vata is increased, the bone is destroyed. Therefore all the foods and herbs which tend to deplete bone tissue should be administered.
Asthi pradoshaja vikara chikitsa – to treat the contamination of bones and channels forming bones, Panchakarma treatments, mainly kapha hara vastis and tikshna shodhana vastis, medohara vastis (fat depleting enemas) and virechana are given.
Other treatments as per cause –
Treating Sandhigata vata – with effective snehana, swedana and basti, oil pooling over the afflicted joints (janu vasti, kati vasti etc), bolus fomentations (patra pinda sweda, shashtika shali pinda sweda etc), lepa (application of medicinal pastes) and upanaha (poultices).
Treating amavata when spurs are formed in this disease – with fasting, sudation, digestion improving and ama depleting medicines having bitter and pungent tastes, purgation and enemas, dhanyamla dhara, valuka sweda (sand fomentation) etc.
Treating spurs associated with gout – with bloodletting, purgation therapies, enemas prepared with bitter tasting herbs, application of medicinal pastes, poultices, showering the joints with medicated oils and liquids etc.
Sthoulya Chikitsa – treating overweight conditions since they are responsible for bone destruction and osteoarthritis, hence associated with spurs. Powder massages, light to digest foods, purgation, good exercise and fat depleting enemas are helpful.
Asthi Kshaya Chikitsa – bony spurs are formed as compensation to the lost or damaged bone tissue. Damage to bones can occur due to increase in vata in the bones and joints or due to injuries. Vata alleviating measures should be taken and the injuries should be treated.
Deepana Pachana Chikitsa – medicines which kindle the tissue metabolism and deplete ama from the tissues, especially fat and bone tissue should be used. This will help in proper formation of bone tissue and avoid formation of osteophytes.
Role of Panchakarma and Upakarmas
Choice of Panchakarma and upakarmas shall be done as per the cause and mechanism of formation of osteophytes, as explained above.
Read – Ayurvedic Treatment for Heel Pain By Brick Fomentation
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