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Amputation

Why Does My Back Hurt?

08/31/2009

Question:

I am a double amputee and my operation was done in October 2008. Now I’m at home and have been doing my exercises regularly for the last few weeks. Also, I have been cooking my food and I have noticed that my back is starting to hurt as I’m doing a bit of walking. Could it be due to the more working or is there another reason for my back pain? I can walk inside the house with no stick.

Answer:

You didn't mention the level(s) of your amputations - with low back pain being more common for someone who's undergone bilateral amputations above the knee - or higher - due to the progressively greater gait compensations and energy expenditure associated with prosthetic ambulation the higher the amputation level.

Regardless, evaluations by your physician, your prosthetist, and your physical therapist are necessary to determine if prosthetic fit, alignment, components, and function are optimal, whether your gait pattern is the best it can be,  additional or different stretching and/or strengthening exercises which may be beneficial - and whether those you are performing are being done properly (if you've just begun performing exercises a few weeks ago, more time may be necessary for benefit to occur), and if there's a "medical reason" for your back pain which requires further evaluation and treatment.

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Response by:

Brian L Bowyer, MD Brian L Bowyer, MD
Clinical Associate Professor
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University