My Spine Sticks Out – Should I be Concerned?

Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: June 16, 2014

bulging spineOne of the many common questions I hear in my practice (and see online) is: should you be able to see your spine? In other words, should you be able to recognize your vertebra through the skin on your back? That’s the topic for today’s blog. We’ll talk about why some people’s spines are more visible than others and whether that is anything to be concerned about.

Why Does the Spine Stick Out?

There are a handful of reasons why a person’s spine may be “visible” or appear to be bulging. The simplest explanation is weight. Skinnier people will generally have less fat surrounding the spine, making the vertebra appear more pronounced. This can be seen to the extreme in malnourished people who have so little fat that their entire skeletal structures appear visible through the skin. An overweight person, or one with a very muscular back is less likely to have a “visible” spine.

In other cases, a person’s spine could simply be shaped in such a way that it appears prominent. Everyone’s spine is different and no spine is absolutely perfect. What looks like an abnormal protrusion could simply be the shape of your spine and surrounding bodily structures.

When to Be Concerned

While most of the time a bulging spine is no cause for concern, there are certain instances in which the protruding spine could be a sign of a more serious condition. Sometimes an abnormal protrusion of the spine could indicate adult scoliosis or kyphosis, especially if the bulge appears without any injuries or lifestyle changes.

If you have a spine that appears to protrude and it causes pain or appears suddenly, it is important to seek medical attention to properly diagnose the cause of the bulge and take any necessary action for treatment.

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