What causes radiating pain?

Radiculitis, also known as radiating pain, is a sign that a nerve or nerve root along the spinal column is under pressure from injury or inflammation. It is a common symptom of many spinal conditions and manifests itself as pain that travels the length of a nerve — for instance, down an entire arm or leg.

The anatomy of radiating pain

Traveling pain is a form of referred pain — that is, pain that is felt in a place different from the affected area. For example, if a herniated disc extrudes beyond its normal space between vertebrae, it may pinch one of the many nerve roots that exit the spinal cord. This pinching results in pain that may radiate along the entire length of the nerve root.

Sciatica — lower back pain that radiates down the leg and into the foot — is perhaps the best known example of radiating pain. If a bulging or herniated disc pinches the sciatic nerve, it may put pressure on a branch nerves that run from the lower back all the way down to each foot, causing pain in the lower back, the back of the thigh, the knee and the foot.

Treatment for radiating pain

Anti-inflammatory medications and pain relievers may help with radiating pain in addition to exercise, physical therapy or other nonsurgical treatment methods.

Depending on the severity of your condition, your physician may recommend surgery if you’ve not met your pain relief goals after several months of nonsurgical treatment.

Unlike traditional open back surgery — an invasive procedure with a typically extensive recovery — the minimally invasive procedures at Laser Spine Institute are performed in an outpatient setting and are safer and effective treatment alternatives.

Using a less than 1-inch incision, our minimally invasive procedures have helped more than 75,000 people find relief from radiating pain caused by underlying spine conditions.

If you’ve had your spine problem diagnosed but haven’t found relief, contact Laser Spine Institute. We can provide a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a candidate for our procedures. Take a stand against chronic back pain and contact us today.