The prevention of nerve pain may be a difficult task to accomplish, as the causes are varied. However, once you have a grasp on what causes nerve pain, taking preventative steps to avoid those factors may help you live a life without discomfort.
What Can Cause Nerve Pain?
Nerve pain, also known as neuralgia, may manifest when the spinal cord or an associated nerve root is impinged upon. For example, a bulging or herniated disc may exert pressure when the cartilaginous disc material expands into the spinal canal. This expansion may occur gradually, as the normally spongy cartilage loses water and dries out. The tough outer wall of cartilage, called the annulus fibrosus, begins to weaken. Meanwhile, the inner gel-like nucleus pulposus shifts outward, pushing on the outer wall. A bulge may result. If the outer wall cracks, the nucleus pulposus can seep out, in a condition known as a herniated disc. Either of these conditions can occur due to age-related degeneration, but they may also develop from sustaining a traumatic injury during a car accident, incorrectly picking up a heavy item, or falling from a tall height and landing on your feet or buttocks. Other factors that can cause nerve pain include inflammation, diseases, infections, or toxins or chemicals that interact adversely with the nerves. Nerve pain is characterized by shooting pains felt at the site of nerve impingement, with pain, weakness, numbness, spasms, and tingling radiating along the path of the nerve.
You may not be able to control the development of nerve pain, but here are a few steps you can take to help prevent the onset of symptoms.
- Avoid smoking – The toxins in cigarette smoke can cause the discs of cartilage between the vertebrae and spinal joints to deteriorate faster than normal.
- Maintain your posture – Check to make sure that your posture is correct when sitting and standing. Adjust computer monitors and desk chairs as needed to avoid putting additional stress on your neck and back.
- Avoid lifting heavy items with your legs – Lifting with your back may put too much pressure on the spine and may cause a bulging or herniated disc.
- Rest your back and neck – Your spine works hard every day, so it is important to take care of it. You can remove pressure off your back and neck by lying on the floor with your knees bent (resting on pillows, if possible) and feet on the floor.
- Exercise and stretch – Exercising and stretching may strengthen muscles and keep the body flexible. Remember to check with your physician before starting any new exercise program.
If You Develop Nerve Pain
Are you dealing with symptoms of pain, tingling, numbness, cramping, and/or weakness in your arms or legs? Have you tried conservative treatments, such as medications and physical therapy, with no relief? At Laser Spine Institute, we employ a variety of minimally invasive, outpatient procedures to help people find relief from back and neck pain. Contact us today for more information or for a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan.