Spinal Tendonitis Treatment Options

Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: March 29, 2018

Spinal Tendonitis

Tendons are connective tissues comprised of collagen that connect bones and muscles to one another. These tendons are fibrous and tough, and while they can handle a lot of stress, they aren’t invincible. Below, we take a look at how these structures are injured, and how tendon injuries are treated.

Spinal Tendonitis Causes and Symptoms

Tendons are an integral part of your spinal column, as they help to facilitate movement, shoulder weight and provide stability to your spine. When injuries to these tendons occur, it can inhibit your ability move normally and it can expose your spine to even more injury. Tendons can become injured due to acute force, but in this blog, we’re focusing on spinal tendonitis, which is commonly caused by overexertion and overstress.

Spinal tendonitis occurs when the tendon becomes inflamed. Not only is this painful, but it can inhibit healthy blood flow to the area, making the injury slow to heal. Aside from pain, the inflamed tendon can compress nearby nerves, which can cause pain or radiating numbness or weakness in other parts of the body. The inflamed tendon can also shrink the spinal foramina, which is the space through which spinal nerves travel. When this happens, it’s known as foraminal stenosis.

Diagnosing and Treating Spinal Tendonitis

The best way to treat spinal tendonitis is to get an accurate diagnosis from a spinal specialist. During the diagnosis process, your doctor will take a closer look at your medical history and then conduct a physical exam. They will search for signs of swelling and conduct some movement tests to see which actions cause symptoms to appear. They’ll also ask you about your daily activities to get a better idea of which actions are jeopardizing the integrity of your spine.

Since your tendons are soft tissues, tendinitis won’t show up on a standard X-ray, although your doctor may order an X-ray to look for other problems like spinal fractures or shifted vertebral discs. Tendinitis can be diagnosed with other imaging techniques, like an MRI or CT scan, although your doctor may not need to order an imaging test if all signs point to tendinitis.

Once tendinitis is identified, your doctor will walk you through your treatment options. The goal of treatment is to decrease inflammation and increase healthy blood flow to the area. Oftentimes this can be achieved with a combination of the following treatments:

  • Rest
  • Heat therapy/Cold therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Stretching exercises

In most cases, spinal tendon inflammation can be resolved with conservative care techniques. Minimally invasive decompression operations are available, but rarely needed. Should you need an operation, your doctor can walk you through the simple process of relieving the compression issue in your back. For more information about spinal tendonitis, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi today.

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