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July 19, 2005

Bone Spurs

A client with arthritis informs me that they have been diagnosed with bone spurs. All up and down their spine are these spurs which they tell me is responsible for their back. In my mind I conjure a vision of nettles (like sand spurs), bright white because of their calcium component, stuck to the vertebral bodies like sea-urchins on a coral backbone.

But what exactly are bone spurs? What do they look like? Why do they cause so much pain? As a massage therapist, what can I contribute to this clients comfort?

Bone spurs are in fact smooth structures that form over a prolonged period of time, often causing back pain.

Alternative therapy is not meant to replace conventional medical treatment, but it can be a useful adjunct. Its main roles are to relieve tension, manage pain, and strengthen neck and back muscles. Massage is one way to relieve tension, and yoga provides the additional benefit of strengthening muscles. Chiropractic and acupuncture have been reported to relieve the pain associated with disk problems, although great care needs to be taken to avoid exacerbating them. Practitioners of the Alexander technique or the Feldenkrais method can provide instruction on correct posture and exercise that may help prevent further symptoms. Vitamin and mineral supplementation along with herbal therapies and homeopathy can help build and rebalance the weakened structure.

Posted by linda at July 19, 2005 7:47 AM

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