As the body’s central support structure, the spine protects the spinal cord, sensitive nerve roots, and several internal organs. The spine keeps us standing upright and connects the head, chest, pelvis, shoulders, arms and legs. Due to the intricate nature of the structure, nerve pain that extends from the back to the feet my actually be the result of a problem originating from your lumbar spine (lower back). While some patients reporting back to foot pain only experience mild pain, others report intense pain that disrupts day-to-day activities.
But identifying the cause of back to foot pain can help board-certified spine doctors pinpoint both the origin and cause of the pain. Once a spine surgeon determines the underlying conditions responsible for back to foot pain, patients can begin advanced spinal care tailored to his or her individual needs. With a dedicated staff of nationally recognized spinal experts, the team at New Jersey Spine Specialists understands the main conditions that causes the manifestation of back to foot pain and proven treatment approaches to eliminate painful symptoms.
Named after the sciatic nerve, sciatica generates pain from the lumbar spine or buttocks to your legs when the nerve becomes irritated or compressed. Degenerative disc disease, pinched nerves, or a herniated disc can cause sciatica to appear between the backbone levels of L4 and S1. When afflicted by sciatica, most patients report common symptoms like pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, slower reflexes and muscle spasms. After receiving an accurate diagnosis from a board-certified spine doctor at NJSS, patients living in Morristown, Montclair, and Livingston can begin a personalized treatment regimen. Rather than opt for surgical intervention, our doctors can treat sciatica patients with back to foot pain through a combination of conservative methods such as:
A herniated disc can cause pain to surface lower back that radiates throughout the entire body. Acting as shock absorbers, spinal discs create the cushioning and spacing between the vertebral bodies. But over time, these discs will degenerate, become injured, and bulge out (herniate). The viscous material from the disc’s interior will then spill into the spinal canal, thereby producing intense pain from irritating sensitive nerves on one side of the body. Signs and symptoms of herniated discs depend on the location in the spine and whether the disc presses against a nerve. The most common symptoms a patient will experience may include a combination of pain in the buttocks, thigh, and calf, numbness or tingling from the affected nerves, muscle weakness, issues with stability and difficulty lifting and holding items.
Spinal experts refer to the abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal as Spinal Stenosis. While the majority of affected patients are over the age of 50, degenerative changes can cause younger patients to develop this painful condition. These changes may include trauma, a congenital spinal deformity like scoliosis, or even a genetic disease affecting bone and muscle development. Spinal Stenosis symptoms tend to fluctuate between patients, ranging from mild and manageable pain, numbness or tingling in the extremities from pinched nerves, back to foot pain, and a limited range of mobility. Since symptoms of spinal stenosis are so similar to symptoms of other spinal conditions, it can be difficult to properly diagnose this painful condition. But the NJSS team can deploy advanced imaging tests – like an MRI or CT – to identify the location of the narrowing spine. To complicate matters even further, spinal stenosis can arise as the result of other conditions such as bone overgrowth, herniated discs, spinal injuries from car accidents, and tumors.
When the cushioning intervertebral discs between the individual vertebrae begin to deteriorate, board-certified spine doctors will diagnose patients with degenerative disc disease. The precise medical term for this condition is spondylosis. The intervertebral discs, which provide spinal support and act as shock absorbers, are partially composed of cartilage. As the body ages, water and protein content of cartilage changes, making the disc weaker and more fragile. In addition to changes in the cartilage, the discs themselves are subject to degeneration over time from the normal wear and tear of movement. Other causes of degenerative disc disease include trauma, repetitive stress, and disease. Degeneration of the disc tissue makes the disc more susceptible to herniation, or rupturing of the disc (called a herniated disc). This can cause pain in the affected area and along the nerves connected to the spinal cord where the degenerative disc is located. The condition progresses from degeneration of the spinal discs to include the spinal joints, called facet joints.
When back to foot pain appears after one vertebra slips forward over the vertebrae below, doctors will diagnose patients with Spondylolisthesis. No to be confused with a “slipped disc” this condition is prevalent in the lumbar spine. Symptoms of lumbar spondylolisthesis may include a combination of soreness in the area of the slippage, tightness or stiffness of the muscles of the lower back, pain in the lower back, thighs, and buttocks, and sciatica. Spondylolisthesis typical affects athletes – like weightlifters, football linemen, and gymnasts – placing immense stress on the lower region of the spine. As a result, athletes risk developing vertebral stress fractures on the right and left sides of the spine. The formation of vertebral stress fractures may cause instability and bones to shift out of place. The NJSS team can treat patients suffering from Sponylolisthesis with pain medications, heat and/or ice application, physical therapy, and epidural steroid injections to decrease inflammation. In most cases, non-surgical treatment can successfully minimize a patient’s back to foot pain. However, doctors may recommend surgical intervention when a patient’s painful symptoms fail to improve.
New Jersey Spine Specialist’s doctors hold a history of successful in treating many patients from all over northern New Jersey for back to foot pain. With locations at Summit’s Overlook Hospital and Montclair’s Mountainside Hospital, New Jersey Spine Specialist’s leading team of spine surgeons provides patients living near Short Hills, Maplewood, and Millburn with advanced care tailored to each unique case. If you begin to experience back to foot pain, don’t let the pain to intensify. Come visit our state-of-the-art office for a consultation with New Jersey’s leading spine doctors, and learn about what minimally invasive treatment options may be best for you. To find out more about how our minimally invasive treatments can lower your back to foot pain, give us a call by dialing (908) 608-9619.
“I am pain free, walking and well on my way to recovery thanks to the help of New Jersey Spine Specialists” —Robert K
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