When you think about your back pain, you might recall painful muscle spasms, sore joints, or even the sharp zinging pain of sciatica in your buttocks. Back pain has many causes 一 and many different treatment options 一 but there’s one thing that back pain probably doesn’t make you think of: your feet.
Believe it or not, there’s a surprising connection between lower back pain and numbness in your feet, and being able to identify that can help us identify the source of your back pain and numb feet.
Below our team of providers dives into this surprising connection.
When your back pain causes pain outside your back, it’s very likely that a nerve is compromised somehow. Your peripheral nerves extend from your spinal column to your limbs, and they help you feel and move. You have three main types of peripheral nerves: motor, sensory, and autonomic. Motor nerves tell your brain that you want to move, run, walk, etc. Sensory nerves relay messages about your senses to your brain. Autonomic nerves operate on their own and help regulate body functions.
If these nerves become injured, irritated, or damaged, it can cause issues anywhere along that nerve. Because your nerves run from your lower back to your feet, a pinched nerve in your lower back, for example, can cause symptoms anywhere that that particular nerve runs. In other words, a pinched nerve in your lower back can cause pain anywhere in your lower back, leg, or foot. You might experience burning pain, pins and needles sensations, or numbness.
Spinal stenosis is one of the most common causes of foot numbness related to a back issue. Spinal stenosis means your spinal canal narrows, and this decreased space means some nerves may get pinched. Other issues that can compromise the health of the nerves in your lower back include osteoarthritis in your spine, herniated discs, bone spurs, and tumors.
While you might not give your feet much thought daily, it’s hard to ignore them when they hurt. There are many reasons why your feet might hurt. Blisters, plantar fasciitis, and bunions are just a few of the many foot conditions that cause pain. But what about the numbness? On first thought, numbness seems to be the preferred option over pain, but numbness can cause serious consequences.
You might, for instance, cut your foot without realizing it. This can contribute to slow-healing wounds, especially in people who have diabetes. Foot numbness poses other problems too. It can affect your balance and make you feel unsteady on your feet.
When back issues contribute to foot issues, the only way to address foot numbness is to treat the root cause of your lower back pain. Here at International Spine Pain & Performance Center, our team understands the complexities of back pain and how it complicates your life in many ways 一 including your foot health!
Our first step is determining what’s causing your pain and then shaping a treatment plan based on your needs. Our team of orthopedic specialists offers a variety of treatments, including:
Don’t let your back pain spiral into foot numbness. To explore your back pain management options, give us a call at 202-851-7034. You can also schedule an appointment in our Arlington, Virginia, or Washington DC office.