Every night my 86-year-old mother complains that her feet are cold. She has socks on her feet and I wrap them in 2 blankets. They don’t feel cold. Is it her imagination?
For more than 15 years, I tried to convince my doctors that my toes were cold — all of the time, even in the summer — even when I wore two pairs of socks. But one-by-one, they all said, “Your toes are warm, you have good circulation, you don’t have any problems moving your toes, and your skin looks perfectly normal.” It was their polite way of saying, “It’s your imagination.”
I even checked out a number of unlikely causes including, for example, “Were my socks too tight.” They weren’t. (People whose toes are cold often pull up their socks too much. That can cause their toes to curl under, pinch their nerves and make their toes feel cold.)
It wasn’t until I had back surgery 5 years ago that I understood the real reason.
During my surgery, one “minor” problem wasn’t taken care of (fixing it would have limited my flexibility too much). As a result, one of my discs still presses slightly on the sciatic nerve in my lower back. While it needs watching to make sure that more serious conditions don’t develop, the only problem for now is that my toes feel cold constantly. And, it doesn’t make any difference whether I do or don’t wear socks to bed.
If your loved one’s socks aren’t too tight and all of the other more likely causes have been checked out, and their toes or feet are still cold, you may wish to visit a doctor [not a chiropractor] who specializes in spine care. There are a wide variety of therapies and other techniques that can solve most spine-related problems without surgery. Only the most severe cases, like mine, result in surgery.
For more information about sciatica and your sciatic nerve, visit:
- Causes of Sciatica Pain and Sciatica Symptoms
- Sciatica Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, Exercise
- Medline Plus – Sciatica