Q: Dr. Jimenez, I have a question about degenerative disc disease, and that is can it cause nerve pain in the feet? El Paso, TX.
A: Yes in certain cases, degenerative disc disease (DDD) can cause nerve problems with the feet.
Degenerative disc disease, specifically of the lower spine, can cause nerve pain to radiate and spread into the feet from the spine.
Degenerative disc disease
Is a spine condition that’s caused by everyday wear and tear of the spine can lead to significant loss of disc height.
A disc can also herniate and push on the nerves that flow into the feet, and cause:
The wear and tear of the spine combined with a herniated disc can pinch the nerves that go to the feet.
There is a condition known as foraminal spinal stenosis when the spinal foramen or the small opening between the bones of the spine begins to narrow and tighten so the nerves get compressed and do not allow signals and chemicals to flow properly.
This could explain the pain or other symptoms in the foot.
DDD can cause nerve problems in the feet, back and chronic back pain is the most common symptom of degenerative disc disease.
Common degenerative disc disease symptoms
The pain increases when:
- Sit down for a long time
The pain decreases with:
- Lying down
- Continually changing body positions
It’s important to remember that nerve issues with the feet are not always caused by spinal conditions, this could include
- Infections like discitis
- Injuries like a spinal fracture
Depending on how severe the nerve problem is, there are a number of treatment options. These range from:
- Chiropractic care
- Physical therapy
- Over-the-counter medication
Talk to a doctor or a chiropractor about the right treatment option for foot nerve pain. Whether it is caused by degenerative disc disease or some other condition.
Does degenerative disc disease go away
Degenerative disc disease symptoms can be managed by making small lifestyle changes.
- Whole grains
- Lean meats
- Healthy fats like fish and olive oil
These can help maintain a healthy weight, as being overweight puts extra pressure on the spine that leads to increased back pain. Consult with a registered dietitian or health coach to discuss the best foods for your diet.
- A training regimen that incorporates aerobic, strength and flexibility exercises that can help manage degenerative disc symptoms.
- A personal trainer or sports chiropractor that has experience rehabilitating patients with spine conditions. They can teach exercises that can help relieve pain and other symptoms.
Chiropractic or physical therapy can offer stretches and exercises to improve:
- Range of motion
- They can develop a custom physical therapy program
Regular chiropractic and physical therapy can help restore proper body mechanics, proper posture, as well as, avoiding positions that cause pain.
Surgery is considered a last resort or if the condition is progressing and getting worse. If surgery is needed, your doctor will discuss the best treatment option for your condition.
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Chiropractic focuses on restoring and maintaining overall health and wellness. Through the use of spinal adjustments and manual manipulations, a chiropractor can re-align the spine, and improve a patient’s strength, mobility, and flexibility.