The spine is more than bones and joints. Collectively referred to as spinal soft tissues, muscles, ligaments, and tendons located in and around the backbone also play an important role in how the spine functions and moves. An injury to any of these soft tissues can result in pain that’s either felt directly around the back and neck or in nearby areas. Some issues with soft tissues require little or no attention, while others may require specialized attention such as minimally invasive spine surgery. Beverly Hills surgeons claim the symptoms of spinal soft tissue injuries can be just as varied.
What Causes Spinal Soft Tissue Injury Symptoms?
Soft tissues of the spine can become irritated or injured in many ways. While symptoms associated with any soft tissue can be similar, the degree of discomfort or mobility issues experienced also depends on what is specifically affecting spinal soft tissues. Possible causes of spinal soft tissue symptoms may include:
- Inflammation-based conditions – Inflammation-based conditions that could affect soft tissues of the spine include tendonitis and bursitis, an irritation of fluid-filled pouches that minimize friction between bones and soft tissues.
- Spinal contusions – Contusions occur when the spinal cord is bruised, which may affect soft tissues and blood vessels near the injured area. The related swelling may compress nearby tissues and nerves enough to impede movement.
- Sprains and strains – Symptoms resulting from injuries of this nature are usually caused by some type of movement or activity that stretches tissues beyond a normal range of motion. Soft tissues of the spine can also become partially or fully torn and trigger painful symptoms.
- Not warming up spine-supporting tissues – Soft tissues around the spine can become tense or tight without a proper warm-up prior to being active or exercising.
- Sudden falls/impacts – Sports-related injuries, auto accidents, and slip-and-falls are among the injuries of this type that can affect soft tissues of the spine and produce symptoms that come on suddenly or develop later from delayed swelling.
What Are Common Soft Tissue Injury Symptoms?
Pain that’s either sudden and sharp or progressive is the main symptom experienced with spinal soft tissue issues. If nearby nerves are affected from inflamed spinal soft tissues, symptoms may be felt away from the source of the injury. Nerve-related pain related to soft tissue swelling might be experienced in the legs, thighs, buttocks, arms, or shoulders. Related symptoms may also include:
- Discomfort affected by movement
- Visible swelling
- Tenderness in the affected area
- Heat or redness
- Reduced range of motion or flexibility with spine-related movements
- Visible discoloration or bruising
- Instability/weakness in the affected area
How soft tissue injuries affecting the spine are treated will depend on where you feel related pain, the specific source of your discomfort, and the intensity and duration of your symptoms. Most soft tissue injuries respond well to conservative treatments and don’t require surgery. If your pain isn’t going away with rest and other forms of self-care or the use of over-the-counter medications, see your doctor or a minimally invasive spine surgeon. Beverly Hills residents should get in touch with Dr. Hyun Bae at The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration.
At The Spine Institute, we specialize in procedures ranging from dynamic stabilization to total disc replacement surgery. Beverly Hills patients who are seeking relief for their chronic pain should give us a call today at 310-828-7757.