This is what I cannot understand: Providers can be really short-sited. But, why?
Think of the wrist surgeon who says you have carpal tunnel, but they ignore your complaints of elbow, shoulder and neck pain. Your wrist pain is coming from the neck! So you need your posture corrected, your spine and shoulder mobilized, your shoulder blades re-educated and your nerves flossed. The wrist is attached to the rest of the body, we cannot be wrist-centric in this case.
Think of the colorectal surgeon who will surgically remove your hemorrhoids, but won’t look in your vagina to see if you have a prolapse ultimately causing you to strain when you poop. You need a prolapse assessment, treatment for the prolapse and the factors causing the prolapse so that you stop straining and don’t create further hemorrhoids. The anus is centimeters from the vagina, we cannot be anal-focused in this case.
So then there is the person with pelvic pain. Many people with pelvic pain end up complaining of foot pain. They’ll go to a podiatrist and are told that they have plantar fasciitis. This just kills me! Patients start to think that they are falling apart, one part of their body at a time. But, they’re not falling apart. It all makes sense. Hear me out:
I’m going to predict the course of events of someone in pelvic pain. If I take a simple case, it would look like this:
- You go through a period of high stress for work. You sit a lot for this job. You think about this job when you are at home. You continue this high stress situation for weeks, months, years.
- You start to notice a dull ache in your rectum. You’re like “I feel that, that’s weird, huh.” You shake it off. No big deal. You decide not to do anything about it because it’s too weird a thing to bring up to anyone.
- The dull ache in your rectum becomes an actual pain in your ass. You start to freak out because it’s starting to flare up sometimes when you sit for a while.
This person thinks that this pain is one thing. But, then this happens:
4. You start to notice that you have trouble getting all the pee out and when you are done, sometimes you dribble a little bit. You kind of feel like an annoying nagging sensation to pee, even though you just went. You realize that you need to pee a little more at night than you used to.
So now you think that you have rectal pain and now a bladder problem. You must be just getting old, right? But, there’s more:
5. For some reason you start to feel a little sore after you orgasm. You get a lingering discomfort in your genitals.
Eh, not a huge deal, just a little weird. Until…
6. Now you really dread pooping because you notice that you really hurt after pooping. You notice that pooping makes your bladder hurt and your rectum flare up. You don’t understand why this is happening since you’ve always pooped without issue before.
You’re starting to get freaked out at this point. You decide to go to the doctor and they give you antibiotics for an infection that they cannot find. You feel better for a while, but then…
7. Your rectum hurts again, your bladder is still messed up, sex doesn’t feel the same and you still hurt more after pooping. And now your feet hurt. What the fuck? Your feet?
This is when panic sets in. You. Are. Falling. Apart. You go to the podiatrist and they tell you you have plantar fasciitis. Can you catch a break already? You do some foot stretches and massage your feet, the pain gets a little better, but it’s still there and it’s still bugging you.
8. Now you can’t stand and you can’t sit. You prefer to lie down. What has become of you? How will you work? How will you play? How did this happen all of a sudden? You used to run marathons and you have two kids and you need to keep your job. Now you’re anxious, really, really anxious, but the doctor tells you that nothing is wrong since you’ve been on several antibiotics already. They’re now telling you to relax and seeing a psychiatrist. So you go to the psychiatrist and they say you need to relax and get on anxiety meds. So you get on anxiety meds and they help a little, but you are still in Hell!!!
That’s my guess. That’s my prediction about the beginnings and the ends of my imaginary person’s pelvic pain. Does it sound familiar at all?
What I’d like to see is a little more thought go into this situation. You are paying your providers for their unique thoughts which are supposed to be better versed in the body than yours – that is why they are medical providers and you are not, right? I’d like this thought to go in the direction of the whole body and not just the body part.
What I’m saying is, I want the podiatrist to know a lot about the back. I want them to know when to send a patient with foot pain to a spinal specialist. The sensations from the foot stem from the low back. If the podiatrist could be less foot-centric and more whole-body centric, I think that the world would be a less pained place. Really, I mean it.
Now, there are, of course, times when foot pain is stemming from the foot. But, sometimes it’s stemming from the ankle, knee, hip, pelvis, back or all of the above. Expert judgment should determine this. Expert judgment is really necessary and should be expected, but most of the time I don’t see this happening.
So…what I’m saying to you is this: If your feet start to hurt, please consider that your foot and pelvic pain could be coming from your back. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Get treated for the core of why you are hurting, not just the symptoms alone.
And then there is the homunculus. This is your brain’s map of your body. Except, your body is Picasso’d in this map. The parts of your body with more sensation are drawn larger and the parts of your body that are more “connected” are drawn together. It looks like this:
As you can see with a magnifying glass, on the left side of the picture, in the middle part of the brain (because that is one half of a brain), the feet and toes and genitals are next to each other. Hence the theory why people with pelvic pain also develop foot pain.
What’s the answer? I think the answer is that you should get your back screened very well before doing anything to your feet. I think that’s the only thing you can take action on. This homunculus thing is cool – but what do I do with that information? How can I help you with that other than just getting you to understand the potential link? It does make a cool picture and there is truth to it, so maybe you can frame it. I would.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them anonymously in the comment section below or email me at [email protected]