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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Suggest treatment for a lump in the upper lumbar area

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Dr. Shashidhar B K

Orthopaedic Surgeon

Practicing since :2007

Answered : 147 Questions

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Posted on Fri, 10 Mar 2017 in Lump
Question: I have a hard visible bump/lump on my spine (upper lumbar area). It is not painful but feels a little irritating when I lean against a chair. I had an x-ray which didn't show anything wrong in that area, only a vertebrae that has slipped, but that is further down on my spine. What could this be and should I ask for an MRI?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Shashidhar B K 32 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Part of natural curve wait and see for 3 months

Detailed Answer:
Hi there, Welcome to HealthcareMagic. Thanks for your question.

At your age (63) it is not unusual to notice such a hump in upper back. With age there is generalised kyphosis or forward bending/stooping which happens uniformly across the upper and middle part of spine due to age related degeneration. Since you are thin built it is probably more apparent in you. If it is not associated with pain and on examination your physician could not appreciate . Any mass(with tenderness, or different consistency in the swelling), it should not be a matter of concern.

X ray helps us to see the general contour(alignment)and any bony abnormalities. Xray is not a good investigation for soft tissue swelling.MRI helps in appreciation of soft tissues around the spine.

It would be advisable to get an MRI if -
1.The swelling of hump is increasing over time.
2.there is pain at the site of swelling (pain also elicited on pressing the swelling or hump).
3. On examination of the site if anything alarming is felt (like tenderness, variable consistency,etc).
Also any sudden weight loss or fever would be a matter of concern.If you have any of this more thorough investigation would be advisable.

Overall I feel, a hard bump in upper spine at your age which has been evaluated by a physician,with no findings on x ray, is most probably part of the natural bony curve.It would be prudent to wait and see over next 3 to 6 months before embarking on MRI.

Hope this answers your question.

All the best.With regards.
Dr.SBK.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Kampana
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Follow up: Dr. Shashidhar B K 40 minutes later
Thank you for your answer. However, there is a misunderstanding as to the location of the bump/lump, it is in the mid to lower back area,not the upper back. I do not have rounded posture. I can feel and see this bump, feels almost like bone. I first noticed it about 8 months ago while doing a yoga stretch. There was no pain, just an odd pulling feeling in that area which did not inhibit me from doing the stretch (the forward bend). That led me to touching my spine and feeling the bump. Given that this hard bump is in the mid to lower back and not upper back, does that alter your answer in any way? Thank you
doctor
Answered by Dr. Shashidhar B K 1 minute later
Brief Answer:
Lower back curves/humps backward on bending forward or stretching forward

Detailed Answer:
Hi there.

A bump in that area of your spine felt on forward bend or stretch would still qualify for a normal variation ,since in bending forward that area of the spine would become more prominent. However, it would be relevant to see if it's still there when you are erect and upright. Since in standing erect the bump would flatten out a little.

Rest of my reply to you before stays the same.

Hope this answers your question.

All the best
Wit regards.

Dr.SBK.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Kampana
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Shashidhar B K 32 minutes later
Yes, the bump is still there when sitting or standing erect.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Shashidhar B K 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
Needs evaluation in person by spine surgeon

Detailed Answer:
Hi there,

If the bump is present when you are erect, it needs evaluation in person by a spine surgeon.Based on the physical finding's and x ray further test can be advised which usually includes MRI.The redflags which will indicate earlier appointment with your doctor would include: bump asaociated with fever, Un explained or Un intentional weight loss, any weakness in your legs, difficulty in passing urine or motion, bump which is increasing in size over time and unrelenting pain which does not respond to pain relivers and physiotherapy

Hope this helps.
All the best. With regards.
Dr.SBK.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Nagamani Ng
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