The short answer is yes, back pain can spread to other parts of your body. This is more likely to be the case if temporary spine-related aches and pains turn into chronic or recurring symptoms. It’s not quite the same thing as what often happens with certain types of cancer, but there are factors associated with back pain that take a toll on nearby structures. Continue reading to learn more about the parts of the body often affected by things going on somewhere in or around your spine.
A common area of the body affected by back pain is the hips. This tends to happen because of the way chronic lower back pain can throw off your posture as you shift how you stand and walk. It’s human nature to do this without thinking to avoid positions that tend to trigger back pain. The extra stress could then leave you with both back and hip pain.
As the way you walk changes because of your back pain, the extra stress can work its way down to your feet. The added burden may then gradually affect structures in your foot and ankle area. For instance, unresolved back pain could lead to arch problems in your feet.
There are many nerves that originate in or near the spine and extend to other parts of the body. For instance, the sciatic nerve in the lower back extends into the legs. If the sciatic nerve is affected by a herniated disc that remains untreated, the resulting nerve irritation could eventually extend into the legs and cause pain there too. If the disc is diseased or damaged enough, a spine specialist may recommend a lumbar disc replacement. Santa Monica patients who undergo this procedure often get immediate pain relief, which continues to improve over the following weeks and months.
The same thing could happen with your shoulders if a spinal nerve is irritated in your middle or upper back area. Also, signals from irritated spinal nerves may be disrupted in a way that causes the resulting sensations to be felt elsewhere.
Poor posture is a common factor that contributes to back pain. If this applies to your situation, your poor posture habits may affect your cervical spine, or neck, as well. Also, issues in your spine may initiate in your neck area and contribute to upper back and neck pain.
If back pain has contributed to discomfort in other parts of your body, your treatment plan would likely address both sources of the problem. Once the source of your back pain is discovered and treated, additional treatments may involve:
• Therapeutic exercises to strengthen muscles in the other parts of your body that were affected by your back pain
• Postural adjustments to achieve proper alignment to take stress off other areas
• Diet and exercise changes to boost your overall health and wellbeing
Ideally, it’s best to address back pain sooner rather than later, especially if it’s not going away after a brief period of rest or reliance on home remedies. By doing so, you’ll reduce the risk of spine issues contributing to entirely new problems elsewhere in your body.
If you’re experiencing severe or persistent back pain, make sure to see an experienced Santa Monica spine surgeon for prompt diagnosis and treatment. The industry-leading physicians at The Spine Institute are pioneers in spinal health, employing cutting-edge technology and innovative methods to enable patients to live pain-free, active lives. To schedule a personal consultation with one of our spinal health experts, give us a call today at 310-828-7757.