12 Apr Nerve pain and cold weather
Have you noticed how the cold weather brings on your aches and pains? Some people can tell when it is going to rain! The nerves are sensitive to pressure, and that may mean barometric pressure as well. They are sensitive to tight muscles, scar tissue, stiffness in and around joints, chemical swelling, hormonal effects and much more. As a holistic physio practice we address all these issues with you, referring to the appropriate practitioner or specialist Dr when required. We believe in a non-invasive physical and mental approach first before medication, injections or surgery; but of course if these are required or even questioned we recommend you see your Dr before continuing your physio treatment.
The first topic on nerve pain we will cover is:
Nerve Compression causing Foot Pain
Heel that pain!
- Our feet are subject to a lot of stress, with the average person taking 5000 to 7000 steps a day. It’s not surprising that foot pain is a most common medical condition. Nerves cause pain. There are sensory nerves in joints, muscles and soft tissues of the feet. Damaged or irritated nerves are usually accompanied by a burning, shooting, or stabbing pain, or there may be a dull ache (usually a sign of inflammation too), paraesthesia (pins and needles) or numbness. The peripheral nervous system sends information from our feet to our brain and from our brain to the feet. The brain itself is a sensory organ, but that is another topic for later.
- Nerve compression may occur anywhere along the nerve from the spinal cord to the foot, and it does not need much; 10mmHg mercury is all it takes, that’s a tea spoon of sugar! Muscle trigger points can also refer pain away from themselves. If you have heel pain only after walking up hills or stairs, chances are a trigger point in your calf may be causing the pain, or inflexibility. Physiotherapists are trained to find and treat the source of nerve irritation or compression.
Common foot pain caused by nerve compression or irritation (neuropathy or neuralgia)
- Heel pain
- Between toes – Mortons neuroma or nerve swelling between toes (usually between 2nd and 3rd, but can be 3rd -4th.
- Outside border of foot
- Top of foot
How physiotherapy can help?
Early diagnosis and treatment ensures an earlier resolution of pain from nerve entrapment. The longer the pressure or irritation of a nerve, the longer it will take to heal, so early treatment is always recommended. Usually you will require less treatment and get better faster.
- Reduction of inflammation
- Reduction of nerve pain using laser or dry needling (form of acupuncture)
- Neural mobilisation (ie flossing the nervous system). This is a series of gentle exercises which encourage the nerves to slide freely with in their tunnels. They may become adhered after a disc injury for example.
- Muscle relaxation, release scar tissue using stretching and soft tissue techniques
- Joint mobilisation
- Foot stabilisation- adapted footwear, tape, orthotics
Advise on appropriate footwear
- When should you upgrade your sports shoes?
- Inappropriate footwear (narrow shoes, tight laces, high heels etc.)
- Heel Counter stiffness
- Midsole flexibility
- Forefoot stiffness
- Outside sole compression
- Location of straps and support