How Back Pain Can Affect Other Parts of the Body

When we hear the term back pain, we may envision a very particular type of pain that is localized to one part of the back. We don’t often consider that a condition like back pain could spread to another area of the body. Only infections and cancer do that. If back pain is felt anywhere besides the spine, it is when the sciatic nerve is impinged and sending pain signals down the buttock and leg. That is only one instance in which back pain might affect another area. There are several others, which we’ll discuss here.

Back pain is one of the most common physical complaints to affect adults. In many cases, those who may benefit from care continually try to manage their stiffness and pain with home remedies. They may alter their level of physical activity or even take some time off work. If pain is due to overuse, these tactics may work. If pain persists, it may indicate a structural problem that could worsen without intervention. A worsening structural problem like a herniated disc could then spread pain to other areas of the body. 

  • Hip pain could result from unresolved back pain very easily simply because the spinal column sits just above the pelvis. When the back hurts, the body naturally shifts weight to distribute stress elsewhere. Where else for stress to go first than the nearest structure, the hips? When this happens, it may not take long for hip and buttock pain to develop.
  • Foot pain may develop in both feet if back pain is not addressed. Even so far from the back, the feet pick up stress that would have otherwise been handled by a strong spine. The reason foot pain can occur as a result of back pain is that we change our walking and standing posture when our back hurts. Whether that is stooping or leaning to one side even slightly, this alters the way that pressure travels through the foot. One area, such as the arch, may take on more stress than it should, causing pain. 
  • Neck pain may also result from back pain due to the way in which we hold the body. Back pain may cause us to sit, stand, and generally move with poor posture that forces the cervical spine to work harder. This can result in tensed muscles and even headaches. 
  • Shoulders and extremities. The spine is the starting point for multiple nerve roots that travel out to all parts of the body. Nerve impingement, known as a pinched nerve, can cause pain to radiate along the affected nerve path, including the shoulders, arms, and legs. 

Back pain may be common, but that doesn’t mean it’s normal. To better understand the origin of your back pain and prevent your problem from worsening, contact us at (609) 890-3400 for a comprehensive consultation and examination. Back pain does not always require surgical intervention, but it does require thoughtful care. Princeton Neurological Surgery can help.

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