Causes of a pinched nerve burning sensation

Experiencing a burning sensation in your arm or leg can be alarming, especially if the sensation is on the left side of your body. While this can sometimes indicate a serious cardiovascular problem, it can also be the result of something as simple as a pinched nerve. In fact, many people mistake this burning symptom of a pinched nerve with symptoms of a heart attack. That being said, if you are experiencing this burning sensation in your left arm, accompanied by a tight or heavy chest and/or pain in your neck or jaw, seek medical attention immediately.

If you have already been diagnosed with a pinched nerve in your neck or back, you may be familiar with the burning feeling that travels down one of your arms or legs. It’s easy to understand why a pinched nerve would cause pain at the immediate site of the condition, but why does it cause stinging pain to radiate down your arm or leg?

The answer has to do with the vast, intricate network of nerves, which originate along the spinal cord and exit to the rest of the body, sending signals between the brain and other parts of the body. Once you understand the basic network of nerves near the spine and their function, the concept of radiating pain into the extremities will make more sense.

Understanding a pinched nerve

In addition to a burning sensation, a pinched nerve may cause localized pain, tingling, numbness or muscle weakness in the areas of the body that share the same pathway as the impacted nerve. These symptoms can arise when a portion of the spine moves out of alignment, often as a result of a degenerative spine condition, and compresses a local nerve root in the spinal canal.

The nerve roots next to the spinal canal are responsible for transmitting pain, sensation and muscle movement to the associated extremities. For example, a nerve root on the right side of the neck is responsible for transmitting signals between the brain, the right shoulder, the right arm and the right hand. If this nerve root is pinched as a result of a spine condition, the signals to the right arm may become blocked or intensified. This is why some symptoms of a pinched nerve include a burning sensation or numbness in the extremity.

Treating a pinched nerve

Many cases of a pinched nerve can be managed using conservative treatments, such as pain medication, behavior modification, physical therapy and other nonsurgical methods. Conservative treatments aim to lengthen and realign the spine, thus reducing the pressure on the nerves near the spine.

While these methods are meant to alleviate the symptoms of a pinched nerve without surgery, sometimes surgery is necessary if the conservative methods are not providing any lasting pain relief. If you find that you need surgery to treat your compressed nerve, we encourage you to research the minimally invasive decompression surgery at Laser Spine Institute. Reach out to our dedicated team for your no-cost MRI review.* We will determine if you are a potential candidate for our innovative outpatient procedures.

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer minimally invasive surgery to relieve pressure on an impacted nerve root by removing a small portion of the damaged spine that is compressing the nerve. This procedure is performed through a less than 1-inch incision and offers safer and effective results as an alternative to traditional open neck or open back surgery.^

For more information about the minimally invasive spine surgery offered at Laser Spine Institute, contact us today.

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