Nerve pain overview

Nerve pain, also known as neuralgia, occurs when a nerve in the body is pinched or compressed. Nerve pain is something that nearly everyone experiences at some point in their lives. A pinched nerve can happen playing sports or doing yard work, and in most cases the pain will subside after a few days with a little rest and some over-the-counter pain medication.

While this pain can occur anywhere, it commonly occurs in the neck or back. Because the nerves along the spine are enclosed by the spine and the core muscles, nerve pain can be caused by a number of things, such as a muscle strain or a spine condition. The most common cause of nerve pain, however, is a degenerative spine condition, which is damage in the spine that develops with the natural aging process.

If you nerve pain is caused by a sore muscle, it will likely heal itself within a few days of rest and over-the-counter pain medication. However, if your pain continues or worsens, you should schedule an appointment with your physician to determine the cause of your pain. If you are experiencing nerve pain caused by a spine condition, your physician can help you find the best treatment options for pain relief so you can get back to your active lifestyle.

Common causes of nerve pain

One of the most common causes of nerve pain — outside of minor injury — is a degenerative spine condition. These conditions are often the result of nothing more than the natural aging process of the spine and are sometimes unavoidable. As the spine ages and endures years of constant movement and sometimes weight gain, the pressure on the vertebrae and discs increases and can cause components of the spine to wear down.

Some examples of degenerative conditions include:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Osteophytes
  • Calcified ligaments
  • Inflamed soft tissue
  • And more

These conditions are not necessarily symptomatic by themselves, but when herniated disc material, a bone spur or inflamed tissue comes into contact with a nerve root or the spinal cord, mild to severe nerve pain can occur.

Treatments for nerve pain

In most cases, nerve pain can be managed with a combination of nonsurgical treatments, such as pain medication, physical therapy and hot/cold compresses over several weeks. Your physician can help you decide the best treatment options for your condition and can help you monitor your progress to make sure the treatments are working effectively.

If you have not found pain relief after several months of conservative treatment, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about the benefits of our minimally invasive spine surgery.

While conservative treatments aim to relieve the symptoms of nerve pain, our minimally invasive spine surgery focuses on treating the cause of your pain. We offer minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures to remove the pressure from the pinched nerve by either removing a small portion or all of the damaged part of the spine that is pressing against the nerve. Each procedure is performed through a small incision and moves the muscles aside instead of cutting through them, allowing our patients to experience a shorter recovery time^ and less complication than patients who choose traditional open back surgery.

For more information about the advantages of minimally invasive spine surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute today.