Back pain isn’t always limited to your back area. If it’s a damaged disc or spinal deformity causing your discomfort, you may be experiencing radiating nerve pain elsewhere. In some cases, the pain may extend to your legs and feet and become severe enough to cause you to limp or have similar difficulties walking. When it becomes a chronic problem, there are several treatment options worth considering to restore your full mobility. Beverly Hills back surgeons discuss a few of these options.
Treating Limping Caused by Nerve Compression
Limping that’s a response to tingling sensations, muscle weakness, numbness, or frequent muscle spasms is likely due to some type of nerve compression or impingement. The standard non-surgical treatment recommendation for this type of radiating pain is exercise and stretching.
The purpose of exercise is to strengthen spine-supporting muscles to take some of the pressure off of the affected part of the spine. With gentle stretching, the goal is to increase flexibility and free the compressed nerve as the problem disc is manipulated or moved. Additional treatments may include:
- Spinal manipulation with chiropractic treatments or massage therapy
- Customized physical therapy after the source of the pain has been determined
- Epidural injections placed directly into the source location (in the back, not the legs)
- Electrical stimulation with techniques like TENS units
- Anti-inflammatory medications to soothe irritated tissues and nerves
Treating Limping Caused by Spinal Muscle Tension
Your limping may be primarily caused by the muscles directly within or near your back area. If these muscles aren’t functioning properly, the muscles in your hips and thighs may have to work harder to compensate. When other muscles are doing more work, you may feel tightness or soreness that’s painful enough to cause you to limp.
Exercise and stretching may relieve muscle issues around your spine by increasing circulation. Increased blood flow also means more oxygen-rich blood will get to the affected soft tissues. These treatments can be especially effective if your discomfort is partly due to prolonged sitting and posture issues. Also consider:
- Staying hydrated throughout your day
- Doing a proper warm-up before exercise or other physical activity
- Making an effort to keep your spine aligned when you sit, stand, and sleep
Treating Limping Caused by Hip and Pelvis Problems
While not often associated with being a cause of spine-related pain, muscles in the hip and pelvis area provide much of the support needed for walking motions. Any problems with tissues, joints, and bones in this area, including hip fractures and osteoporosis, could cause you to limp as certain muscles pick up the slack and work harder to compensate. Treatment typically includes:
- Medications to ease inflammation
- Exercise and physical therapy
- Dietary adjustments (lean proteins and vitamin-rich foods)
The right treatment approach for you will depend on factors such as the duration and intensity of the pain and the issue with your spine or its supporting discs that’s triggering the nerve root irritation. If the treatment options mentioned here or other remedies recommended by your doctor aren’t working or the pain becomes debilitating, it may be time to consider minimally invasive back surgery.
Just like back pain has many potential sources, there are also many possible treatments. At The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration, we specialize in a wide array of spinal fusion and nonfusion procedures, including spinal stimulation and transforaminal interbody fusion. Beverly Hills patients who want to find relief for their back pain should call 310-828-7757 today to schedule an in-person evaluation.