Your back is made up of 33 individual bones called vertebrae, which connect to 31 pairs of nerves – not to mention the number of facet joints, tendons and muscles that surround these elements. So, it really is no surprise that your painful symptoms can extend far beyond just your back.
Interested in finding out more about how back pain impacts the rest of your body? Keep reading.
How does back pain lead to symptoms in other parts of the body?
Because back pain is typically caused by compression of the nerve root, the location will impact exactly where the pain is felt. For example, abnormalities in the cervical (upper) spine can, yes, lead to neck pain but also result in symptoms within your arms. Similarly, lumbar (lower) spine pain can lead to radiating pain in your legs. This is called referred pain, which is the term used to describe when pain is felt in a different area of the body than where the injury, or root cause is located.
Thankfully, treating the root cause within your spine can reduce pain in extremities immediately. If you’re experiencing unrelenting painful symptoms then it’s time to seek medical advice to regain your life through a custom treatment plan developed for your needs.
Now, let’s look at some of the most common questions we receive about back pain:
Can back pain cause knee pain?
Unfortunately, yes. One of the nerves in your lower back is called the sciatic nerve, it connects from your lumbar spine, down through your leg, into your knee and even into your toes. Because of this, compression of the nerve can cause shooting pain in your knee and leg.
Can back pain cause headaches?
Absolutely. Pinching or compression of your spinal nerves, like what might happen because of a herniated disc, or spinal stenosis, can lead to chronic headaches.
Can back pain cause paralysis?
While this is rare, it is possible. It depends entirely on the condition, injury or cause of the pain but leaving back pain untreated can result in worsened pain and permanent damage of the spinal cord.
What treatment is appropriate for back pain?
The treatment plan that is right for you is determined by your medical history, age, severity of symptoms and more. It could be anything from a spinal anti-inflammatory shot in the epidural space of your spine through to minimally invasive surgery.
It’s critical that you seek out a medical professional, or even better a board-certified spine surgeon, when you experience chronic or acute back pain to limit the damage being done.