Bone spurs and Osteoporosis: How Can Massage Help?

Bone spurs (aka osteophytes) are bony projections that develop along the edges of bones and often form where bones meet together such as joints. They can also develop along the spine which are called lumbar osteophytes. The damage that is associated with osteoarthritis or inflammation such as tendinitis can cause bone spurs to form. The layer of cartilage that exists along the edges of bones where they come together to form a joint are worn away and cause bones to rub together which can be pretty painful. In response to the inflammation this causes and as a means to protect and stabilize itself, new bone begins to form. This process takes years to develop to the point of a person experiencing pain from the bone spur.

Sometimes when bone spurs are created on the bottom side of the heel or calcaneus bone (aka heel spurs; which can be extremely painful and debilitating), plantar fasciitis is usually associated with the heel spur. This particular type of bone spur can be treated with massage. Gentle stretching and deep tissue work on the plantar fascia can help the tendon to loosen up.

While massage is great for heel spurs, the inflammation that a person can experience with lumbar osteophytes may not be ideal for massage treatment. Especially if there is a lot of inflammation already present, massage can potentially increase the inflammation even more depending on the pressure and techniques used. If you do receive massage treatment, consider asking your massage therapist to either use Biofreeze at the very end or prior to the session discuss the possibility of ending with a 5 minute ice massage.

The skeleton helps give shape and acts as a framework while the muscles move and manipulate the bones to do certain movements. So when there are dysfunctions such as bone spurs or osteoporosis this can absolutely affect the muscles. Massage can help alleviate the pain associated with these conditions. For individuals with osteoporosis (a medical condition where the bones become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue) less pressure is recommended as well as a gentle abdominal massage to alleviate constipation that can arise from medication.

As always, I encourage speaking with your primary care physician or with one of  our chiropractors here at Northwest Wellness; prior to seeking massage as a treatment for bone spurs or osteoporosis.