Back pain—particularly in the lower back—is one of the most common symptoms in America. The pain can range from dull and aching to sharp and stabbing. Back pain can be due to an acute injury or a chronic condition that causes consistent discomfort. Pain can... Read more
Back pain—particularly in the lower back—is one of the most common symptoms in America. The pain can range from dull and aching to sharp and stabbing. Back pain can be due to an acute injury or a chronic condition that causes consistent discomfort.
Pain can lead to dizziness. Dizziness is a condition that can cause you to feel like the room is spinning. Like back pain, dizziness is a common complaint.
Dizziness can lead to many sensations in addition to a spinning room. You may feel lightheaded, as if you’re floating or might pass out, or are unable to maintain your balance. Each symptom is associated with several causes.
Back pain also can have numerous causes. Your back is responsible for lifting, twisting, supporting, and absorbing shock to your body. With its many functions come many possibilities for injury to occur. The delicate bones along your spinal column contain the nerves of your spinal cord. A bone or a supportive disk that slips out of place can place pressure on your nerves, leading to pain.
When you experience back pain and dizziness together, the cause could be:
- acute back injury, such as after a car accident, in which the pain is so intense it makes you feel faint
In rare instances, back pain and dizziness can signal a severe condition, such as a stroke or brain hemorrhage. If you experience double vision, slurred speech, numbness, and severe balance issues, these could be signs of a medical emergency.
If you experience back pain and dizziness during a blood transfusion, these can be symptoms of a severe transfusion reaction. Immediately notify your medical provider.
Call 911 or have someone drive you to the emergency room if you suspect you may be experiencing a stroke or heart attack. Additional symptoms include confusion, chest pain, loss of control on one side of your body, and/or loss of consciousness. Intense back pain and dizziness that results in a loss of sensation to your legs is also a medical emergency.
Notify your doctor immediately if:
- your back pain and dizziness don’t resolve with home care after three days
- you experience hearing loss or worsening symptoms
- you experience back pain and dizziness while you’re receiving a blood transfusion
Seek medical attention if you experience back pain and dizziness after taking a new medication. However, don’t discontinue any medication without your doctor’s permission.
This information is a summary. Always seek medical attention if you’re concerned you may be experiencing a medical emergency.
Treatments for back pain and dizziness are dependent upon the cause. Rest after injury can often help reduce back pain. Physical therapy exercises to stretch and strengthen your back may help decrease dizziness related to intense pain.
In some instances, your symptoms may require more significant interventions, such as injections to relieve pain, and surgery to reduce nerve compression. Your doctor can prescribe medications to reduce dizziness. Antihistamines, such as Benadryl and meclizine (Antivert), also may help treat dizziness.
If your back pain and dizziness are related to an injury, resting and icing your back can help ease pain and inflammation. Always keep the ice covered with a cloth and leave it on for no more than 10 minutes at a time to prevent injuring your skin.
You can also take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or naproxen to reduce your back pain.
Practicing careful lifting techniques when moving heavy objects can help prevent acute back injuries. Exercising regularly can keep the back flexible and strong, which reduces your injury risk.
Maintaining a healthy weight also can reduce back pain. Added weight puts extra stress on the body, which can lead to pain. Being overweight also increases your risk for a cardiac event, such as stroke or heart attack.
Smoking can also affect your spine, leading to back problems earlier in life. If you smoke, quitting can improve your health in a number of ways.