Spinal neuralgia is a descriptive term for pain and other symptoms caused by dysfunction of or injury to the spinal cord or the adjacent nerve roots. When nerve compression or irritation occurs within the spine, it can produce symptoms such as pain, tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness. The area where symptoms arise depends on the location of the nerve compression. In the cervical (neck) region, nerve compression can produce symptoms in the neck, shoulders, arms, hands, or fingers. In the lumbar (lower back) region, symptoms can arise in the lower back, buttocks, legs, feet, or toes.
Causes of Spinal Neuralgia
The cervical and lumbar regions are most frequently affected by conditions that lead to nerve compression. This is because the vertebrae of those spinal regions support the weight of the head (cervical) and upper body (lumbar), and because the relative flexibility of those regions subjects the associated spinal anatomy to significant wear and tear over time. Age is the top risk factor for the development of degenerative spine conditions that can produce spinal neuralgia, including:
- Arthritis of the spine – degeneration of the facet joints, where the vertebrae meet and flex; can irritate adjacent nerve roots
- Spinal stenosis – a narrowing of the spinal canal or the foramina, which are the openings through which nerve roots pass
- Herniated disc – gel-like nucleus material seeps out of an intervertebral disc through a tear in the outer disc wall, which can irritate adjacent nerve structures
- Bulging disc – the outer disc wall is displaced from its normal boundary and can press against the spinal cord or a nerve root
- Spondylolisthesis – the slippage of one vertebra over another, either from degeneration or a traumatic injury
Treatment for Spinal Neuralgia
More often than not, symptoms associated with spinal nerve compression can be managed successfully using conservative treatments such as pain medication, exercise, epidural injections, and others. However, if chronic pain persists after several weeks of conservative treatment, surgery may become an option. If so, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure conducted using advanced endoscopic technology may be able to help you?free yourself from?back or neck pain.