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General Practice 2023

Parrot beak: what é, symptoms and treatment

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Parrot beak: what é, symptoms and treatment
Parrot beak: what é, symptoms and treatment
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The parrot's beak, as osteophytosis is popularly known, is a bone alteration that arises in the vertebrae of the spine that can cause intense back pain and tingling in the arms or leg.

Osteophytosis is better known as parrot's beak because in the spine radiograph it is possible to verify that the bone alteration presents the shape of a hook that is similar to the beak of this bird.

Although there is no cure, the parrot's beak can get worse over time and, therefore, it is important to carry out treatment that helps to relieve the symptoms and promote the person's quality of life. physiotherapy and use of analgesic drugs.

Main symptoms

A parrot's beak can cause quite unpleasant symptoms, such as:

  • Severe pain located in the back or radiating to the thigh, especially when moving;
  • Tingling sensation in the legs when it develops in the lumbar region or in the arms if located in the cervical region;
  • Decreased muscle strength and stiffness;
  • Limitation of movements with the column.

These symptoms are common to other osteoarticular diseases, mainly of the spine and to confirm the diagnosis it is essential to go to the orthopedist to perform an X-ray of the spine or MRI.

Through these imaging tests, the doctor is able to verify the wear of the intervertebral disc, approximation between the vertebrae and the formation of prominences in the lateral region of the vertebrae similar to a parrot's beak, so that the most appropriate treatment can be indicated.

How they are formed

The parrot's beak is more common due to aging and poor posture over the years, wear occurs on the intervertebral disc that make the vertebrae get very close, leading to the formation of new bone structures that form on the edges of the vertebrae, known as osteophytes.

In addition, parrot beak can also happen due to problems such as hernias, osteoarthritis, scoliosis, autoimmune diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis and rheumatoid arthritis, for example.

Thus, the parrot's beak is more common from the age of 45 due to the natural wear of the spinal discs, in people who are overweight, who do not practice physical activity and in people who have suffered spinal trauma or have rheumatic diseases.

In this way, to avoid the formation of a parrot's beak, it is important to maintain the correct posture when sitting, walking and sleeping, avoid carrying too much weight and practice physical activity on a regular basis.

What is the difference between a parrot's beak and a herniated disc?

Although they are situations that affect the bones, which cause a lot of pain and discomfort and that can be related to aging and bad posture, the parrot's beak and the herniated disc are different.

Disc herniation is a situation in which the intervertebral discs, which are those located between the vertebrae, become more worn, which favors contact between the vertebrae, resulting in symptoms, while the parrot's beak is a change in which there is formation of a bone structure between vertebrae. Learn more about herniated discs.

How the treatment is done

Parrot's beak has no cure, but the orthopedist can indicate some treatments that can help relieve pain and discomfort. Thus, the use of analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Diclofenac, for example, may be recommended to relieve symptoms and promote the person's quality of life.

In addition, it is important to maintain a correct posture to prevent the disease from worsening and, in some cases, physiotherapy may also be necessary at least 4 times a week to improve posture and reduce pain. In more severe cases, in which spinal misalignment can also be observed, the doctor may recommend surgery to correct this alteration.

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