In general, the presenting symptom of poor circulation is pain, not numbness
. Numbness is a symptom of a nerve
problem. When you fall asleep on your arm and it feels numb and pins-and-needle-like, it's because you've compressed a nerve, not cut off the circulation. When you have a heart attack
, it's because an area of the heart muscle isn't getting enough oxygenated blood, and you feel pain. People with poor circulation in their legs can't walk because of pain, not numbness.
(incidentally, diabetics who frequently feel numbness, burning, etc. In their feet are feeling problems with how their nerves function. It's not circulation that causes this.)
if you began feeling numbness in your calves right after your back surgery
, i think it's a remarkable coincidence. It's hard to believe you developed "poor circulation" right after having surgery on your back.
Nerves that bring sensation from the legs to the brain have to pass through the spinal cord, and any compression to the spinal cord or nerve roots can cause all sorts of symptoms in the legs & feet. As dr. Christensen explained, the nerves in your back could be responding to the swelling and trauma of being manipulated during surgery. If so, this usually clears up in time.
When you say the pulse in one foot is "slower" than the other, i'm guessing you mean it feels weaker; less strong. The best way to determine if you really do have an issue with circulation is to have plethysmography done, which is a simple, painless test to measure the circulation in your legs. A vascular surgeon is the type of doctor who would do this.
If your circulation is fine and it's just the nerves in your back that are responding to surgical manipulation, you'll probably be fine in a few weeks. If the symptoms persist, acupuncture
helps this nicely.