Within the seven vertebrae of the cervical spine, a person can develop acute to chronic pain. Most of the time, it isn't anything more than positional stress placed on the neck as a result of daily activity. But sometimes this pain is a result of a bone spur that has formed on one of the vertebrae within the neck. Not only can it cause pain, it can prompt a number of other symptoms distinct to the condition.
Of all the symptoms of a bone spur, the most common is pain, especially when located in the neck. This pain is usually rather dull and runs through the neck down into the back. For some people, a bone spur in the neck will also cause pain to emanate from the shoulders, or even down into the arms and legs. But regardless of where the pain is felt, it often worsens with activity, even from motions as simple as standing and walking.
For others, the pain is accompanied by numbness. And much like the symptom of pain, this numbness can be felt within the neck, back, shoulders, arms, or legs. As the spur forms, it can begin to place an increasing amount of pressure on specific nerves housed within the cervical spine. The more pressure that is placed on these nerves, the more likely you will experience numbness within some region of the body.
When the vertebrae suffer deterioration and prompt the formation of a bone spur, it can hinder a person's ability to move his neck, reducing the range of motion not just in the twisting of the head, but also the bending motion of the cervical spine.
It isn't uncommon for a bone spur in the neck to cause periodic headaches. Instead of the bone spur's placing pressure on a nerve, it can compress a vein, restricting blood flow and prompting a headache. Just like a "normal" headache, those caused by a spur will respond to medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin.
Depending on the location of the bone spur, it can also place pressure on the larynx, trachea, or bronchi. This could irritate the respiratory tract, potentially causing it to become inflamed, and making it difficult or painful to breathe.
At times, a bone spur in the neck can prompt digestive disruptions, more so in the swallowing of food than the digestion. In this situation, the bone spur may jut out into the esophagus, placing pressure on the tract, and making it difficult or painful to swallow.