Got a Bruised Spine Feeling? 5 Potential Causes

October 11, 2019

Woman suffering from back pain while working with laptop at office
Sarah Handzel

Many people seek treatment from their doctors because their spine feels bruised or tender. This painful symptom, which can interfere with your ability to enjoy your normal activities, is, in many cases, related to an underlying issue you may not even be aware of.

If you've ever wondered, "Why does my spine feel bruised?", there are certain things you should know about the potential causes and how you can try to manage pain at home. But it's also important to know when you should see your doctor to rule out other, more serious issues.

Why Does My Spine Feel Bruised?

Many people complain that their spine, or the area of the back around the spine, feels bruised or extremely tender. While it is possible to actually bruise your spine, this problem usually results from an underlying cause. Any number of issues may cause your spine to feel bruised, including:

  • A back injury: Back injuries are among the most common causes of spinal pain or tenderness. Falls, car accidents or sports injuries can put severe stress on your spine, causing it to move out of alignment. In many cases, this leads to pain.
  • Herniated discs: Also known as a bulging disc, herniated discs occur when one or more of the rubber-like spinal discs ruptures or slips out of place. Normally, these discs sit in between the vertebrae in your spinal column, acting to protect your spine from outside forces.
  • Old age: It's no secret that our bodies change as we age, and it's common for older people to experience back pain.
  • Osteoarthritis: This common joint disease usually affects middle-aged and older individuals. If you have osteoarthritis in your spine, the protective discs narrow and bone spurs form, resulting in pain.
  • Poor posture: Poor posture can result from sitting for long periods of time or carrying very heavy loads on your back. Long-term poor posture may make your spine feel bruised.

Controlling Pain at Home or at Work

There are several techniques you can try to manage your pain if your spine feels bruised. These include:

  • Exercise: Low-impact exercises and stretches, such as yoga or a short walk, helps build up strength in the muscles supporting your spine. Additionally, exercise releases endorphins, which are your body's natural pain killers.
  • Cold and heat: Applying cold and heat to your spine may help alleviate your symptoms. Be sure to use a barrier, such as a towel, between any cold or hot items you use. Only apply cold or heat for short periods of time throughout the day.
  • Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) and pain-relieving creams may benefit you. These products are available at pharmacies or online retailers.
  • Practice proper ergonomics: At work, be sure your workstation is ergonomically designed to help prevent poor posture.

When to See Your Doctor

If you've tried managing your pain without success, or if your pain gets worse over time, you should schedule a visit with your physician. He or she can help you rule out more serious issues which may be causing your spine to feel bruised.

If your spine feels bruised, it's important to discover the cause of the pain so that you know how best to treat it. While there are several therapies to try at home or work, you may eventually need your doctor's help to manage your symptoms. Fortunately, in most cases, a bruised spine feeling isn't serious and goes away with treatment.

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