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Complications of Untreated Back Pain

Sep 30, 2022
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Your back is an important part of your body’s support structure, allowing you to stand, walk, bend, and perform other basic actions. Almost everyone experiences back pain at some point, but not getting it treated can make the situation worse.

Back pain makes performing basic tasks more difficult, affects your daily life, and is one of the most common problems that lead to hospital visits, with almost 65 million adults complaining of this type of pain to their doctors. Worse, 16 million adults complain of chronic back pain, creating more problems over time. 

Mild back pain can be managed at home, but untreated severe or chronic back pain can create several problems that affect your mobility and overall health. Let’s examine what can happen by looking at the causes and symptoms that may come with back pain and what can happen if that pain is left untreated. 

If you live in the Colleyville, Texas, area and deal with back pain, you can find help with Dr. Don Enty and the medical staff at Genesis Pain & Regenerative Medicine.

Causes of back pain

Several activities and conditions increase the chances of back pain, including:

  • Obesity: the strain of carrying excess weight can affect your back muscles and spine
  • Smoking: prompts coughing, which can lead to a herniated disc
  • Inactivity: weakens abdominal and back muscles and causes back pain
  • Physical strain: improper lifting or straining your back during physical activity 
  • Osteoporosis: lost bone density leads to weaker bones and makes fractures more likely
  • Infections: bladder and kidney infections and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) can cause back pain 
  • Ruptured disc: slipped, bulging, or herniated vertebral discs cause back pain

Associated symptoms of back pain

Depending on the cause of your back pain, you may experience other symptoms, such as inflammation, swelling, decreased range of motion, inability to stand up straight, pain that reaches your buttocks and legs, and weakness, numbness or tingling in your legs. If back pain is the result of more serious problems (cancer of the spine, cauda equina syndrome, spinal infection, shingles, structural problems) you may also suffer from other issues, like urinary or fecal incontinence, fever, numbness in your pelvic region and weight loss.

Complications of not treating back pain

The complications of untreated back pain depend on the cause, so they vary in severity.

The pain may worsen or become chronic

Mild back pain can become chronic over time, increasing in severity and causing more pain if not treated. Muscles, bones, and ligaments that don’t heal properly can cause more pain and compound the problem.

It can lead to permanent nerve damage

Ignoring compressed, stretched, or pinched nerves can lead to long-term nerve damage or paralysis.

It can become disabling

If back pain becomes severe enough, it can affect every part of your life, making it more difficult to perform basic tasks and limiting your ability to work or go to school. Not treating back pain before it becomes severe can reduce your quality of life.

If rest, over-the-counter medications, and other conservative treatments don’t relieve your back pain, let us help you get better. When you’re ready to be free of back pain, make an appointment with Dr. Enty and Genesis Pain & Regenerative Medicine today.