If you are suffering with pain in your feet when you walk, the problem may not be an actual problem with your feet, but due to a herniated disc in your back. In order to see a specialist, most insurance companies require a referral from your primary care physician. To get to the bottom of your feet problem fastest, ask to see an orthopedic specialist. If the problem is a herniated disc, you will have a few options for treatments that will alleviate the pain.
If you have a single herniated disc and the pain is not severe or disrupting your daily activities too much, you may be prescribed extra-strength anti-inflammatory medications. While this is not a cure for the problem, it will allow you to go about your day with little to no pain.
In most cases, anti-inflammatory drugs are used in conjunction with other treatments or until a more permanent treatment can be determined. If you have multiple herniated discs or the pain is severe, you may also be given a narcotic pain reliever until the problem can be completely resolved.
Exercise and Spinal Manipulation
Exercises to strengthen the spinal column and give it more flexibility are used to try to force the herniated disc back into place. The orthopedic specialist will usually incorporate manual manipulation of the spine to try to help move the disc too. Anti-inflammatory medications will be needed to help with any additional pain from the treatment. They also help to reduce the swelling of the disc so it will slip back into place.
When there is no improvement in the herniated disc with nonsurgical treatments, an orthopedic surgeon will recommend surgery. Typically, the doctor will wait until the nonsurgical treatments have been taking place for four to six weeks before recommending the procedure. There are a couple of different surgical procedures.
- Lumbar decompression surgery involves the removal of only the herniated portion of the disc.
- Anterior or posterior cervical decompression is the removal of the entire disc. The spine is fused together where the disc was to keep the space open and keep it from collapsing.
The ultimate goal for treatment of a herniated disc is not merely relieving the pain, but getting the disc back where it belongs, without any portion protruding. While taking medication to alleviate the pain is going to be necessary for part of the treatment period, it should not be the only thing you do for the problem. See an orthopedic specialist to fix your spine and get you off the drugs for good.