Bone spurs, called osteophytes, are calcium deposits or outgrowths of bone that develop at the edges or intersections of bones. They most often develop in main joints like knees, hips, shoulders, and the spine. However, they have been discovered in finger joints, and can also occur in the heel of the foot. You may have a bone spur that remains undetected for years, since it causes no symptoms. But changes in your body or activity level may “activate” an existing bone spur so that it becomes a problem. You’ll know immediately if this happens because you will begin to experience pain in the affected area.
The reasons that bone spurs become problematic vary depending on their location. However, most are caused by inflammation. That inflammation stimulates cells that form bone to create a bony deposit in an area where it does not belong. Spine, knee, or shoulder spurs can be caused by the joint damage that occurs with diseases such as osteoarthritis. Ankle or knee spurs can result from the local inflammation caused by tendinitis or other injury. Heel spurs can be caused by a weight imbalance in your walking or running gait, or weakened bones in foot joints. Bone spurs can also be a result of calcium deposits formed by excessive acid in an area of the body.
As symptoms worsen, they may begin to impact daily functioning. Obviously, pain is the most difficult symptom to manage. However, bone spurs can also cause swelling, joint weakness, numbness, and a limited range of motion. Each of these can cause issues, but a combination of symptoms can seriously curtail your daily activity.
One positive aspect is that there are a variety of treatments. They include traditional/medical treatments, natural and home remedies, and the more recently accepted method of using essential oils.
More and more people are turning to essential oils to treat bone spurs. The more you search, the more positive testimonials you will find. Essential oils are actually concentrates of water and plant oils. The oil is extracted either by a distillation or steam process, and this produces the “essence” of the plant. These essences are used in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps, and incense but their medicinal value grows with the increase in reported positive outcomes. There are no apparent negative side effects, and each oil has a variety of beneficial properties. They also offer non-medicinal alternatives, and remain effective over a long period of time. For all of these reasons, they are becoming the most widely used treatment for bone spurs.
The Best Essential Oils for Bone Spurs
Lavender oil – Stress and anxiety can increase the pain experience. Lavender has relaxation properties, making it the perfect oil to reduce your stress and pain. It can be applied directly to your spur site or added to an Epsom salt bath.
Peppermint oil – Peppermint oil has cooling, menthol effects. If your bone spur site is warm and swollen, this is the perfect treatment. It is quickly absorbed into the skin, reducing heat, swelling, and pain. It also decreases fluid retention which contributes to decreased range of motion.
Eucalyptus oil – Eucalyptus has properties similar to peppermint and can be used in exactly the same way.
Myrrh oil – The main compounds in myrrh are terpenoids and sesquiterpenes. These compounds have both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. They also serve to stimulate blood flow to tissues. Reducing swelling and increasing circulation in the affected area, have proven to be effective methods to treat bone spurs.
Frankincense oil – Frankincense has a variety of beneficial properties. It is an antiseptic agent and it fights germs. In this way, it boosts the immune system. It is also effective as a sedative, so it reduces stress and pain.
Orange or other Citrus essential oils – Citrus oils have anti-inflammatory and sedative properties.
Turmeric oil– We have already discussed the benefits of Turmeric capsules. But you can also use the oil from this plant as an anti-inflammatory agent. This oil reduces swelling and speeds the healing process.
RC oil – RC oil is a blend of up to nine different oils. The properties of RC oil depend on the actual blend, but the compound is generally used as an anti-inflammatory and pain reducing agent. Testimonials have reported that RC oil actually dissolves spurs or calcium deposits.
Idaho Balsam Fir oil – The oil of this tree has cortisone-like properties. It is a pain reduction agent that, when used regularly, can eliminate long-term pain of bone spurs and other joint and muscle pain.
Wintergreen oil – Wintergreen oil has long been used for pain reduction. It is applied directly to the spur site and is quickly absorbed through the skin. Its anesthetic property numbs the nerves and reduces pain. It also provides warmth and increases circulation in the area.
Linseed oil – Warm linseed is used to provide pain relief. The most effective way to use linseed is to apply using a warm compress, covered with a heating pad.
These treatments are prescribed in a pyramid manner. They range from the least invasive to surgery, depending on the duration and intensity of the symptoms.
- Rest and Ice – This regimen is recommended when symptoms first occur and are mild to moderate. Once they provide some relief, you can add a regular exercise program like yoga to strengthen the area.
- Mechanical devices – These are custom-made products such as orthotics, shoe inserts, or cushioning pads used to manage the pain caused by lower body bone spurs.
- Steroid injections – Cortisone is generally used to provide immediate relief.
- Anti-inflammatory medications – Medications such as Depomedrol, Celestone, Kenalog are used to reduce inflammation and pain.
- Surgery – If bone spurs begin to cause irritation of nerves, tendons, or ligaments, they may need to be surgically removed.
There are a number of natural products that have been proven effective in the short term. These products may not combine well with some medications and may have a taste that you do not prefer.
- Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory, so it can be easily used to treat bone spurs. The standard dose of two 500 mg tablets three to four times a day is prescribed for extended relief.
- Turmeric is an herb that contains curcumin which is a natural pain reliever. Turmeric reduces pain and reduces inflammation. The most prescribed dosage is 400 – 600 mg three times per day.
- Flaxseed also contains curcumin. You can make a flaxseed hot pack and apply it to the affected area to relieve pain.
- Apple Cider Vinegar is another natural option that works by balancing the body’s PH balance. In this way, it reduces the inflammation and dissolves the spur. Mix one tablespoon of vinegar in one 8-ounce glass of water and drink twice a day.
- Chamomile is a flower whose powder has both anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Mix dried or fresh chamomile flowers in hot water and apply this mixture to the affected area or drink two to three cups of chamomile tea every day.
Bone spurs can be invisible or disruptive. Whether they cause mild discomfort or extreme pain and dysfunction, there are avenues of relief. It is important to research all the alternatives in order to choose the one that best meets your needs. Based on the latest information, it makes sense to consider essential oils as your first, and hopefully, last line of defense. In any case, there is no need to suffer. Begin treatment today.