Peripheral nerve pain is a symptom of damage or dysfunction of the peripheral nervous system (PNS), which is the vast network of nerves that transmit messages to and from the central nervous system (CNS – the brain and spinal cord). Disorders of the PNS are known as peripheral neuropathy. A wide range of symptoms is associated with peripheral neuropathy, including tingling, numbness, muscle weakness, and, of course, pain.
Spine-related peripheral nerve pain
In terms of the spine, peripheral neuropathy is a result of compression of a spinal nerve root. This can occur at any level of the spine, but is most common in the cervical (neck) and lumbar (lower back) regions. This is because the anatomical components of the neck and lower back are extremely flexible and bear a great deal of the body’s weight. This combination of stress-inducing movement and weight can exacerbate the normal wear and tear that comes with age. When vertebrae, spinal joints, ligaments, intervertebral discs, and other anatomical components of the spine begin to break down, nerve roots become vulnerable to compression. At times, this nerve root compression can produce symptoms that affect the PNS, including pain. There are more than 100 types of peripheral neuropathy, and nearly as many causes. Here are a few:
- Traumatic injury
- Metabolic disorders
- Endocrine disorders
- Kidney disorders
- Hormonal imbalances
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Vascular damage
- Repetitive stress
- Connective tissue disorders
Treatment for peripheral nerve pain
When peripheral neuropathy is related to nerve root compression caused by a degenerative spine condition such as bone spurs or a herniated disc, symptoms typically can be managed using conservative treatments such as pain medication, epidural injections, exercise and others. If conservative treatment proves ineffective in curing you chronic nerve pain after several weeks or months, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure performed using advanced technology may be able to help you find relief from neck and back pain.