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Low Back Pain and Poor Balance

Trouble balancing can be an alarming and surprising symptom of a low back injury or condition. Discover how chronic back pain can affect your balance.

Why do low back injuries cause balance issues?

The spine is a complex structure that includes vertebra, discs, tendons, ligaments and nerves. The nerves that run along your spine send signals out to the rest of your body to control movement. When vertebra or discs push against those nerves, it can interfere with your body’s movements – including your ability to balance. 

Low back injuries and conditions that affect with your sense of balance include:

What are symptoms of poor balance?

Poor balance doesn’t just mean you have a difficult time standing up straight. Other symptoms of poor balance caused by low back conditions includes:

  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty walking 
  • Trouble climbing stairs
  • Difficulty standing during daily activities, such as brushing teeth or doing the dishes

Diagnosing and treating poor balance 

Your doctor will complete a thorough evaluation to ensure more serious conditions, such as stroke, aren’t causing your poor balance. Your provider will update your family and medical history and examine your spine and joints. Imaging tests may also be ordered to identify the cause of your symptoms. This may include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, X-rays or other specialized tests.