February 16 2021

Managing Back Pain as a Person Living with an Amputation

Back pain in persons with lower limb amputations is quite common. In fact, it can be more common to have back pain than not as an amputee. As you adjust to living life with limb loss and likely a prosthesis, finding strategies to either avoid back pain or fix the back pain can be the difference between living with or without pain.


In some cases, persons with lower limb amputations consider back pain to be worse than the phantom and/or residual limb pain. It can take a team of professionals to help resolve your pain issues but thankfully they are out there and are well-equipped to help you manage your pain. It may take some time, but a solution can be found.


For persons with amputation who experience back pain, the first step is to make sure that your prosthesis is fitting and aligned correctly. Poor socket shape/volume or if your prosthesis is miss-aligned could result in discomfort of your residual limb and cause you to self-correct your walking pattern (gait).  Favoring your amputated side by putting more weight and pressure on your other limb could be the source of lower back pain.  Please consult with your Prosthetist if you have concerns with the fit or alignment of your prosthesis. A small adjustment can often result in a big change.


Tight hamstrings and hip flexors will limit your range of motion which can lead to asymmetry of your gait pattern and cause lower back pain.  Stretching tight muscles will allow for a more symmetrical gait pattern and better control of your prosthesis.


A Physiotherapist can also play a key role in helping you figure out what is going to work best for you to decrease your back pain. They can show you exercises that will help to increase your strength and flexibility and assist you to develop a proper gait pattern with your prosthesis.  These exercises are something that you can do at home once you have learned them from your Physiotherapist.


In conclusion, back pain in persons with amputations happens frequently and you are not alone. Keep in mind, there are professionals that are here to help you.


At WinPO we have a network of medical professionals that can help manage your pain. Do not hesitate to reach out to us if you are having any issues with your prosthesis or need help creating a plan to reduce your pain.