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Boney lump on back of neck/top of spine


A few months ago I noticed in the mirror that the back of my neck looked awfully odd. At the base of my neck/top of my spine there is a bony lump there that has not gone away and it causes a dull heavy sensation in my neck right where the spot is, so the middle of my neck. I do have poor posture that I am trying to work on and I do have overall back pain (both of my parents do as well). This lump is not symmetrical, if you look at it from the right and then the left it looks different. It leans more to the right side of my neck and you can feel with your hands that it is not symmetrical. I have not always had this on the back of my neck and it kind of jumped out at me when I saw it. I have been working on my posture and I saw a university doctor (who I have had bad experiences getting a diagnoses in undergraduate I was overly prescribed steroids when in fact I needed a surgical procedure, I am in grad school now at a different university) who barely felt it and said that it was my muscles that were flaring, even though I told him that the lump is what physically hurts and feels heavy. He said that it is my spinal process jutting out and this is normal. I asked him why it is different now then it was then and he said if I had significant weight loss recently that it would (I have not) and when he was pushing around on it there is a specific spot that hurts on this bone or lump or whatever it is which I told him that it is tender when he pushes and he had no answer for that. He prescribed me muscle relaxers and told me to stretch.. which I have. I wasn't 100% sure about this diagnosis and wanted to ask if anyone knows what this could be? I am a very busy graduate student with limited time so I don't want to go to the doctor if it is something not worth needing to be checked.

I want to add a note that when I am sitting up straight not slouching it still hurts in the back of my neck where the area is and it is not fatty at all to touch and there are no fat deposits in the area
9 Responses
547368 tn?1440545385
Hello Erica,

I know any body change can be frightening. Obviously first I'm going to suggest that you consult your PCP - that will ease your mind - and give you a correct diagnosis.

Second I'm going to tell you that what you are describing sounds exactly like what I have - same place and protrudes out a bit. Do you sit at a computer a lot? It could be muscles from bad posture.- and the way your spine is growing. I'm sure someone will have a medical term for it. I sat years at a computer and that's when I began to notice mine. Normally there is a bit if a change in your spine at the base of your neck. Poor posture and that computer posture can make the "change" more noticeable.

I recently had a cervical MRI and that boney prominence showed nothing abnormal.  .  

Consult your PCP and in the mean time try to sit erect. I wish you well.

Avatar universal
Just wanted to give a quick update. I saw two general doctors who said it was a normal spinal process despite me explaining that it was not always there. One ordered cervical x-ray which showed that my spine was completely straight including in my neck area (I didn't think an x-ray was necessary). I wanted a third opinion because it has now turned into a mass and has grown, I saw a neurosurgeon who said it is a soft tissue tumor, but doesn't know what type yet. I have an MRI scheduled for Monday, will update if anything major is found!
Avatar universal
I will update this in case anyone ever comes across this post on google. MRI showed a large mass of adipose tissue that is collecting on the top of my spine. It cannot be classified as a tumor or a lipoma because it has "no borders". I saw a regular doctor after that and had any medical reasons ruled out for why I have a large amount of adipose tissue collecting. All tests came back normal except for a rather high potassium level, I am having it rechecked to see if it is truly high or if it was a lab error. I am a 23 year old female, and will most likely be consulting a surgeon to have this large mass removed. Not only is it cosmetically unappealing, but it has grown very large in a short amount of time. It sits on top of my spine and is irritating the nerves in the area and creates a lot of discomfort. I want to add that I am overweight, but not obese, and I had lost 10 pounds when my mass started to appear.
Hello people, is not the human body wonderful.  I sit here in the UK and I find a match for my symptoms across the seas and across continents. Well, I have a bone like lump on the top of my spine. It has been there for a number of years it has started to force my head into a downwards looking position, At first. I thought oh is due to the PC and I looking down for so long but then I was not on the PC very much and still it grew. It is like a small buffalo hump. now my Dr said aster looking at me that sge thought I had Cushings, There I was with a big fat belly no fat upon any part of my body aprt from my stomache area, Todate I still have no idea what it is. maybe I should buy a X-ray of ny neck,
547368 tn?1440545385
Thank you for updating us. I really appreciate it. So often ppl post - one post and we never hear from them again - and never even know if they read our response - so again thank you.

Wow! The human body never ceases to amaze me. Adipose tissue accumulation? In case some ppl reading this may not know what adipose tissue is - it's the medical term for "fat."  

It makes sense you saw this when you lost weight - the abnormal  collection of adipose tissue would be more prevalent as you lost the normal adipose tissue surrounding it. Very interesting.

When you say this "sits on top of the spine" you do mean at the base of the neck?  That is where my protrusion is - I've had it since I was in my early thirties and it has become larger. A MRI several weeks ago declares its a large collection (in lay-men's terms) of clumped-together bone spurs. It has changed the shape of the base of my neck. Yes, Ouch!

When they remove this collection of adipose tissue do they think it may return?

So often ppl don't listen to their bodies. I want you to commend you for having the fortitude to follow through - you kept searching and did not take "nothing wrong"  for an answer when you knew better. Applause!

Please don't end your post now. I hope you'll let us know how the removal goes and what you are told about any future issues.

Best of Luck - and thanks for sharing.

16523552 tn?1448799283
Thank you for sharing the possibilities about what could be causing this very uncomfortable and unattractive condition. My lump has been growing over the past few months, but now it hurts. I can't get an appointment until February, but I'm definitely going.  Good job!
Avatar universal
I am writing another update as I finally discovered what was wrong. I had several scans done and it showed several things. The "fatty deposit" was actually a dowagers hump that fused my vertebrae together due to extreme forward head posture, I have adult onset scoliosis in my thoracic and I have osteoarthritis in both of my ac joints...not the kind of news a 24 year old wants to here but what can ya do! Hope this helps anyone who reads his thread
Just a suggestion but maybe we need to rethink the whole cell phone thing. That's what I'm doing. I'm going to break my addiction to the cell phone.
Just a suggestion but maybe we need to rethink the whole cell phone thing. That's what I'm doing. I'm going to break my addiction to the cell phone.
Can they do anything to reverse it? Or make it go away? I have the same thing and I'm. 18 years old. Coukd correct posture fix something like this?
This is insane.. was there ever a stage where you constantly wanted to pop your back before all the neck stiffness?
Can you please email me and tell me a few things if this post is still being watched Erica
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