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If you’ve ever felt back pain, nobody has to tell you how terrible it can be. Back pain is one of the most experienced situations in the U.S., and the older you get, the more likely you are to experience an episode of back pain or develop a chronic, debilitating condition

Back pain comes in a variety of ways: lower back pain (usually the worst), middle-back pain, upper back pain, muscle-related pain, joint-related pain, nerve-related pain. So, what causes back pain? Unfortunately, just about anything.

Back pain can arise immediately or long after sustaining an injury. Some people are born with spinal and other defects that make back pain almost inescapable. No matter how careful you are or how blessed be your genes, you may never be unreceptive to back pain. Heavy lifting, a slip on the sidewalk, a fender-bender, or even a mildly violent sneeze can produce instantaneous and agonizing back pain. 

There is one cause of back pain, however, that many people don’t stop to think about: their feet. The accompanying resource describes why the feet are so tightly connected to back pain, and several of the “steps” you can take to put your feet on solid ground — as far as your back is concerned.

Sometimes it’s hard to see the correlation between problems we feel in our feet and the pain we feel in our backs. For instance, if you suffer from painful corn or ingrown toenail, you’ll eventually seek out medical assistance. You may not realize, however, that this seemingly isolated condition has been causing you to limp for three months, consequently putting an enormous strain on your lower back. The moral of that story? If you have a foot problem, don’t wait to get treatment. Fixing an ingrown toenail is nothing compared to fixing a herniated disc.

Beyond diligence in seeking treatment for foot conditions, preventive measures are wise when it comes to foot care. Rather than wait for the inevitable pain to set in, consider exchanging those unsupported high heels for a pair of fashionable orthopedic shoes that can keep you in society’s good graces and out of the back specialist’s examination room. Another excellent preventive tactic to combat foot pain is to do regular foot exercises to improve your balance and strengthen your feet. Even if your life aspirations do not include becoming a ballerina or tap dancer, well-conditioned feet can better support whatever career or hobby you choose to pursue.

For more insights on how to help your feet help your back, check out the accompanying resource.

Graphic created by Dansko.

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