Back Pain & Blood Clots: 4 Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore


Posted by Dr. Scott Wilson | 01-Sep-2021

Back pain is a very common condition that is most often caused by overwork, poor posture and movement, or simply by the weakening of our muscles as we age. However, back pain can also be a sign of a much larger and more serious problem affecting our health. One such example is blood clots. Blood clots can be a source of back pain and can be life-threatening. So being aware of the related symptoms can help save your life or that of a loved one. First, here’s some information on blood clots.

The Good and Bad of Blood Clots

Although they sound frightening, blood clots are part of the normal functioning of our bodies. Our blood clots to help prevent too much blood from being released after we receive a cut. After an injury occurs to blood vessels (say after you slice your finger while washing a sharp knife), the platelets in your blood get to work. These tiny parts of blood start sticking to the walls of the blood vessel and to each other. This process then forms a seal to stop the blood from continuing to pour out.

Your body then uses specific proteins to help the clot from spreading farther than it needs to. The damaged tissue will begin to heal, and the clot dissolves back into your bloodstream. However, it’s possible for a clot to fail to disperse and continue to grow, which can lead to some extreme health concerns.  

Blood clots can develop in any blood vessel in your body. If a clot breaks free and starts to travel through your body, it can get to vital organs, such as the lungs, brain, or heart. When this occurs, a heart attack or stroke can happen. Blood clots can also cause a pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and kidney failure, which are all medical emergencies. 

For these reasons and more, it’s important to be aware of any potential symptoms that could be a sign of a blood clot so you can seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Four Back Pain Symptoms You Need to Pay Attention To

As indicated above, back pain is a common issue affecting many people, but it can also be an early warning sign of something much worse. Unless you have a prior condition or injury, and with a little rest and proper medication, back pain really shouldn’t last longer than a few days.

Here are four symptoms that you need to be aware of to help safeguard against a more significant problem from occurring. If any of these persist longer than a few days or so, you should seek medical assistance. 

1. Severe Pain in Your Lower Back

Your back is made up of an array of parts that help you move around daily. So, it’s no wonder that pain occurs from time to tome. But the appearance of reoccurring and severe back pain, especially in the lower back, can be a symptom of a potential blood clot. If you start feeling similar types of pain spreading from your back to your chest, you should take that as a serious warning sign. 

Most people will try and push through the pain or mask it with Tylenol, Ibuprofen, or muscle relaxants, but if the pain is insistent, speak to a medical professional right away.

2. Pain That Spreads from Your Lower Back to Your Legs

If you have back pain that starts to extend to your quads and legs, seek medical attention immediately. Symptoms such as swelling, redness and your skin feeling warm to the touch all are signs of a potential blood clot, as blood is pushed from your lower body to your heart.

Blood clots in your legs are typically associated with deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This is generally the result of inadequate circulation, an injury to your veins, a side effect of medication or a complication after surgery.

3. Sharp Pain Versus a Dull Ache

A pain that might start as a simple irritation but then evolves into stabbing and shooting feelings throughout your lower back or side should be addressed as swiftly as possible. This pain can spread from your back to your lower extremities very quickly and may feel like you have pulled or tweaked something in your back, pelvic area or legs.

Back pain is common with blood clots in the lung, such as a pulmonary embolism. The pain will often get worse with extensive coughing and when taking deep breaths. The back pain from these types of embolisms can extend to the upper, middle, and lower parts of your back and both sides.

4. Difficulty with Standing Up Straight

If you have issues maneuvering your back into different positions or standing up straight, it can indicate that something more serious is at work. As the clot moves throughout your body, it affects you in a variety of ways, as previously mentioned. Pain, swelling, warmth in body parts and skin discoloration can all be signs of a more significant issue. 

Are You at an Increased Risk?

Although blood clots can affect a vast majority of the population in various ways, there are things you can do in your everyday life to help lower your chances of getting a blood clot. You may be at a higher risk of having a blood clot appear if you: 

  • are using birth control pills or are currently going through hormone therapy
  • are considered overweight or obese 
  • smoke
  • have diabetes
  • are over the age of 60
  • have recently had orthopedic surgery
  • are bedridden after surgery or live an inactive lifestyle 
  • have been travelling for a long time via train, car or place and are unable to stretch out very much
  • have certain blood disorders that cause you to be prone to blood clots
  • currently have cancer.

If you’re experiencing any type of back pain, you don’t have to continue to suffer. Our team of Physiotherapists, Chiropractors and other health professionals can help. Contact us today and let us show you why, at Physiomed…Healthier Starts Here.


Dr. Scott Wilson

Dr. Scott Wilson is the Founder & Chairman of Physiomed; one of Canada’s largest franchised networks of inter-disciplinary healthcare clinics. A graduate of Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, Dr. Wilson founded Physiomed in 1994 and has since grown Physiomed to over 30 clinics in Southern Ontario and British Columbia. With hundreds of practitioners from over a dozen disciplines, Dr. Wilson and Physiomed have helped over 100,000 Canadians with physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage therapy, orthotic therapy, compression therapy and clinical conditioning as part of a program of rehabilitation and health optimization. In addition to helping patients improve their physical and mental well-being, Dr. Wilson has also mentored hundreds of practitioners to provide better care while enjoying more fulfilling careers. He is also a keynote speaker on many health related topics including how physiotherapy, chiropractic and health & wellness treatment can help with stress, weight loss, and unlocking the true potential within to achieve lasting physical well-being.

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