Edinburgh Osteopath: Can you die of a bad back?

I wanted to post the answer to the question “can you die of a bad back?”  – which was sent in to me last week to help remove any fears you might have about this happening.

A bad back can certainly be distressing, but you can’t die as a result of back pain. However, it is possible that back pain can be a symptom of a more serious underlying “disease” process.

I’m very conscious in making this point that it’s important to point out that the massive majority of people with back pain have “uncomplicated back pain” – it’s only the tiny minority who could be harbouring something more dangerous. There are a number of different more serious causes of back pain, very few of which you can die as a result of. Some of the more common (but still extremely rare) potential causes of “back pain that you can die from” are different forms of cancer which can affect structures in the back, thereby causing pain; and an “abdominal aortic aneurysm” which is a swelling in the wall of the aorta (biggest artery in your body).

I’m not going to go into which symptoms (things you notice) and signs (things we detect on examination) would differentiate these more serious problems from “normal back pain” because lots of people then convince themselves they have exactly what I’m describing. But, any clinician experienced in dealing with back pain will be able to differentiate “normal back pain” from “back pain you can die from”.

If you’re worried about your back pain, then come and see us for a full examination and proper diagnosis – don’t think the worst, because it’s extremely unlikely you have anything seriously “medically” wrong with you. Call our office on 0131 221 1415 to arrange an appointment or click the link to complete our form and submit a direct enquiry and we will contact you.

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