Overview of chronic pain

Chronic pain is generally defined by the medical community as pain that persists longer than three months. Specifically related to pain in the neck or back, chronic pain is often a side effect of nerve compression caused by a degenerative spine condition.

Symptoms of nerve compression expand beyond chronic pain, although chronic pain is the most characteristic symptom of any spine condition. Because nerve compression often occurs in the spine or spinal canal, the pain and symptoms can follow the pathway of the nerves that exit the spine and travel out to rest of the body. Therefore chronic local neck or back pain is sometimes accompanied by shooting pain, numbness or tingling in the nearby extremity.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should consult your doctor to determine the cause of your pain. Diagnosing your chronic pain will help your doctor recommend a treatment option that fits your needs and your lifestyle.

Causes of chronic pain

Spinal nerve compression can occur at any level of the spine and can be the result of any of a variety of degenerative spine conditions, including:

  • Bone spurs
  • Bulging disc
  • Herniated disc
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Facet disease
  • Degenerative disc disease

These spine conditions typically occur over time with the natural deterioration of the spine. As the components of the spine break down, they can move out of alignment and become less able to support the weight of the body. When this happens, the spinal alignment may shift and press against a nearby nerve root, resulting in chronic neck or back pain.

Treatment of chronic pain

Your doctor can recommend a series of conservative treatment options based on the cause of your chronic pain. The most common conservative treatments for degenerative spine conditions include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Exercise
  • Stretching
  • Hot/cold therapy
  • Pain medications
  • Spinal injections
  • Chiropractic treatments

If you’ve been diagnosed with chronic pain and have tried any or all of these conservative treatments in an effort to ease your chronic pain but have failed to see results, you may turn to elective surgery to find relief for severe chronic pain.

At Laser Spine Institute, we’ve helped more than 75,000 patients with chronic neck or back pain. Our minimally invasive decompression surgery and minimally invasive stabilization surgery offer patients a safer and effective method of treatment compared to traditional spine procedures.^ For more information about the advantages of our minimally invasive procedures, contact Laser Spine Institute today.

We are happy to offer a free MRI or CT scan review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.