What does back pain have to do with the feet?

Posted by Jesse Flores on

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Back pain is an extremely common problem throughout the United States, and is a headache not just to sufferers, but also the bosses who have to deal with the many working hours that are lost every year as a result. It can take many forms, with the symptoms potentially including pain in the lower back that may radiate into the buttocks or down the leg, as well as a general lower back aching and restricted range of motion. You may feel pain as a result of prolonged sitting or standing, or when you move from sitting to standing.

Possible diagnoses for back pain include spiriformis syndrome, which involves a spasm or tightness of the piriformis muscle in the buttocks. This can cause irritation to or impinge the sciatic nerve, resulting in pain. However, this syndrome can also have much to do with the foot, with poor mechanics of the foot or lower extremity potentially causing a rotation in the pelvis, leading to the spasm. Arthritis is another potential diagnosis for back pain, this degenerative condition involving cartilage damage that causes abnormality in the joints.

Disc problems are another frequent underlying reason for back pain, with the discs that provide the cushioning between the vertebrae potentially being compressed, herniated, ruptured, develop a mild bulge or undergo degeneration. Such issues may be attributable to poor sitting or standing posture or mechanical changes in the back due to poor support of the foot. Above all else, though, the aforementioned conditions leading to back pain are caused by excessive pronation, where the arch of the foot flattens more than normal, whether because of weakness or tiredness in the foot or unsupportive footwear.

Recommended treatments of such back pain therefore largely center on the 3 Ss ofstretching, strengthening and supporting, in addition to ice and rest. Back pressure can be partially relieved through the stretching of the muscles of the lower extremity, for example, as well as the strengthening of the abdominal muscles, hip and low back and legs. Also instrumental in the prevention or elimination of the vast majority of foot-related problems is the use of the right shoes and insoles, as can certainly help many of those suffering from back pain.

However, such is the great variation that can be seen in back conditions and injuries, one should not begin an individual exercise/stretching program without first consulting a professional, who will be able to recommend the most suitable approaches following an examination.

Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. If you experience persistent pain, consult your healthcare provider.

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