Back Pain

Back pain can felt anywhere on the spine, from the neck to the hips, and is a condition that millions of people suffer from. One of the most common forms is lower back pain, also known as lumbago or lumbar sacral pain. In most cases, back pain will disappear with time, but in some cases it can persist and be highly debilitating.

Rachel Miller is a highly experienced podiatrist who treats many patients for back pain. Please see below if you want more detailed explanation of back conditions, their symptoms, causes and treatment.

Contact the Centre for an appointment on 020 8348 5553

Back Pain

Back conditions

There are many conditions of back pain including –

  • Sciatica, which is an irritation of the sciatic nerve that runs from your lower back, through your hip and down each leg.
  • Strained muscles.
  • Structural causes, such as prolapsed disks, where the cartilage presses on a nerve.
  • Spinal osteoarthritis, which is a deterioration in the cartilage of joints in your lower back.
  • Osteoporosis, a loss of bone density and thinning of the bone, creating small fractures in your vertebrae that can cause pain.

Some symptoms indicate a more serious medical problem such as:

  • a loss of bowel or bladder control
  • numbness or tingling in the legs
  • intense pain
  • unexplained weight loss
  • a persistent fever

If you have these symptoms or ones that persist over a long period of time, you should let your doctor know.

Symptoms of back pain

There is a wide range of back pain symptoms which can depend on the condition and its severity, including:

  • muscle ache or stiffness
  • muscle spasms
  • shooting or stabbing pain that can radiate down your legs
  • pain that is worse bending, lifting, standing or walking
  • pain that is better lying down
  • a dull aching pain in the lower back
  • pins and needles

Causes of back pain

The majority of lower back complaints are caused by strain and repetitive or stress injury.

Other causes can include:

  • structural problems involving the spine
  • nerve related
  • a problem with ligaments
  • muscular
  • footwear
  • being overweight
  • even a poor mattress

Another a major source of back pain is caused by poor posture.  Working in the office or at home in front of a computer, watching TV on the sofa, can contribute to poor posture and consequently back pain.  We can have poor posture standing upright, which worsens over longer periods. We might be aware of our body posture if thinking about it but correcting it is not so easy.

Problems with your body posture can cause your foot to over-pronate, meaning it rolls inwards during motion, or your foot may supinate, when your foot rolls too far outwards during motion, both of which can cause foot pain. Over-pronation is the most common foot problem and can give rise to numerous conditions among which are back problems. When you over-pronate, your legs rotate inwards, which increases tension on your muscles in the lower back thus causing pain.

Treatment of back pain

One factor to  consider when investigating the nature of back pain is how your joints, muscles, ligaments, etc., interlock and interact with each other, so that one joint affects all the other joints during motion. The principle of interlocking joints is sometimes called the kinetic chain. A particular foot structure does have unique characteristics which affect the timing and movement of joints higher up the kinetic chain, which may create susceptibilities, possibly leading to foot, back and other conditions.

In conditions such as  flat feet (pes planus) you may over-pronate, causing your feet to roll to the inner side when you are standing and walking, and it may also cause your feet to point outward.  This can cause pain in the feet due to strained muscles and ligaments as well as tension on the muscles in the lower back causing pain and discomfort. An orthotic insole may be effective in treating discomfort by providing support for your feet and relieving pressure on their arches.

If you have a condition such as high arches (pes cavus), your weight baring is not evenly distributed by the foot, which increases strains and stresses. Excessive supination, your foot rolling inwards during motion, can lead to back and hip pain, stress on the knee, ankle injuries and plantar fasciitis. The aim of treatment in pes cavus is to distribute weight across a larger area of your foot. A bespoke orthotic insole may be effective in achieving this. A custom made orthotic insole will conform exactly to your arch, reduce pressure and help stabilise your foot.

Call 020 8348 5553 to make an appointment

If you have back pain you may benefit from a specialist biomechanical assessment to help accurately diagnose your condition and give you a treatment plan. This can include exercise advice, footwear advice and a bespoke orthotic insole might be prescribed which may help stabilise and support your foot.

Rachel Miller is a highly experienced podiatrist specialising in biomechanics and orthotic insoles who sees many patients with back pain. Her clinic, Highgate Podiatry, is in Highgate Village, 14 Pond Square, N6 6BA, London.  Clinics are held every Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday. Please contact the clinic for an appointment on 020 8348 5553. For the clinic’s address, map and directions see the Contact page and for information about orthotic insoles and biomechanics see the Biomechanics page.

Link to Services:

Link to Conditions Treated Include: