Why Does My Back Feel Hot in Los Angeles, CA

If you haven’t been out in the sun for too long, an unexplained burning sensation around your back is probably related to your spine in some way. Because symptoms that include warmth or burning sensations are somewhat vague, it’s best to have a thorough examination by a Los Angeles spine surgeon to identify a likely source. Below you’ll discover some of the possible reasons your back feels hot.

A “Pinched” or Compressed Nerve

A common source of warmth/burning sensations is a spinal nerve that’s “pinched” or compressed. An irritated nerve sometimes sends out signals that are misinterpreted by the brain. At other times, a compressed nerve will transmit burning sensations along its pathway. The result could be discomfort felt away from the source (radiating nerve pain). Most patients with this issue respond to conservative treatments that include:

  • Resting for a brief time
  • Stretching exercises
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs or injections
  • Various forms of physical therapy

Patients whose pain doesn’t respond to conservative treatment may get relief from a surgical spinal decompression procedure, such as a lumbar foraminotomy. Los Angeles patients who have decompression surgery at The Spine Institute are often able to go home the same day.

Spinal Stenosis

More common in older individuals, spinal canal narrowing (stenosis) sometimes becomes progressively worse over time. If this happens, the reduction of space in the spinal canal may compress a nearby nerve and produce warming or burning sensations. The treatments mentioned above may provide relief if this is the source of your discomfort.

Sciatic Nerve Problems

Starting in the lower back and moving downward, the sciatic nerve is a long nerve that sometimes becomes irritated because of something going on within the lower spine. Inflammation, muscle spasms, vertebral slippage (spondylolisthesis), and lumbar spinal stenosis can also irritate the sciatic nerve enough to produce hot sensations in the lower back or hips. Patients often respond well to:

  • An initial period of rest
  • Ice applications
  • Therapeutic exercises
  • Anti-inflammatory meds
  • Removal of a specific nerve obstruction (e.g., a damaged spinal disc or bone spurs)

Lumbar Radiculitis

A herniated disc and arthritis that affects spinal joints are two possible sources of lumbar radiculitis, a condition that can produce distracting burning sensations. Specifically, it’s caused by the irritation of nerves in the lower back area. The resulting burning sensations could extend from the lower back into the buttocks and legs. If this is the source of your discomfort, you may benefit from:

  • Improved posture
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Pain and/or anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Physical therapy that includes exercise


Shingles (herpes zoster) is a viral infection caused by the same virus responsible for chickenpox. If you’ve had chickenpox, the virus is already in your system. However, it usually remains dormant. In some instances, though, this virus reappears as shingles. One of the symptoms of shingles is a blistery rash, and it sometimes develops around the spine. This rash may produce warming or burning sensations in the affected area. Shingles isn’t curable, although symptoms could improve with:

  • Acyclovir and other medications
  • Topical patches
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Numbing agents
  • Cool baths and similar home remedies

If your goal is to prevent back-related burning sensations or warmth, make an effort to keep your spine and its supporting nerves and structures as healthy as possible, which means drinking plenty of water, watching how you lift heavy objects, watching your diet, and being careful with your posture.

If you’re having burning sensations or any other type of pain in your back, reach out to the back specialists at The Spine Institute. Our pioneering physicians lead the industry in diagnosing and treating every type of back and neck pain. Call one of our friendly team members today at 310-828-7757 to schedule a consultation.