A tender spot that causes general or widespread pain when touched is a vague symptom that can have many possible sources, some of which can be serious. Today, we’re going to focus on tender spots on the spine that are basically relegated to one area and usually more painful when touched. Here are three possible sources of spine-related discomfort of this nature.
If your pain is related to a tender spot on your spinal column, the source of the problem may be a herniated, bulging, or otherwise damaged disc. For instance, if inner disc material slips outward or a spinal disc slips out of place, a nearby nerve may be irritated. If this happens, a tender spot may develop that’s especially noticeable when pressure is applied.
Bulging and herniated discs tend to respond well to medication, physical therapy, and other conservative care methods. Other possible treatment options for disc problems include:
• Non-surgical decompression techniques
• Massage therapy or chiropractic manipulations
• Minimally invasive surgery to relieve nerve pressure and stabilize the spine
One of the telltale signs of a spinal infection is a tender spot in the affected area. In some instances, the resulting pain fades, but in other cases, it can transform into constant pain coupled with more obvious signs of an infection (e.g., fever and chills). It’s particularly important to watch out for a tender spot accompanied by these symptoms if you’ve recently had spine-related surgery such as a vertebroplasty procedure. Santa Monica residents shouldn’t ignore possible signs of a spinal infection, even if they haven’t had surgery. Infections of the spine can be serious if they aren’t diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible. Treatment usually involves antibiotics.
Lastly, tender spots on or around the spine sometimes form because muscles or tendons are strained. If spine-supporting ligaments are affected, it’s a sprain. Soft tissues like these can be irritated or inflamed enough to feel tender when touched. This could also happen if your pain is related to an involuntary muscle contraction (muscle spasm).
Injuries of this nature are more common among athletes, although you may also experience tender spots related to strains or sprains if you fail to properly stretch before being active or if you place too much pressure on certain spine-supporting soft tissues. Treatment for spine-related strains and sprains typically involves:
• Resting briefly or modifying activities
• Doing therapeutic or targeted stretches
• Taking over-the-counter or prescription anti-inflammatory drugs
In general, isolated spinal tenderness sometimes goes away with a few days of rest and other home remedies, such as over-the-counter meds and the application of heat and ice. But if these efforts aren’t helping, talk to your doctor or a Santa Monica spine surgeon to find out why.
If you’re experiencing severe or persistent back pain, make sure to see an experienced spine specialist for prompt diagnosis and treatment. The industry-leading physicians at The Spine Institute are pioneers in spinal health, employing cutting-edge technology and innovative methods to enable patients to live pain-free, active lives. To schedule a personal consultation with one of our spinal health experts, give us a call today at 310-828-7757.