What causes spinal nerve pain?

Nerve pain in the spine can be caused by several different factors, ranging from disease to injury. Often, the root of nerve pain is that a nerve is compressed by a misaligned piece of the spine, such as a disc or vertebra. The nerve compression can cause pain that travels the length of the nerve pathway, sometimes resulting in pain that extends from the spine to the extremities.

For many patients with nerve pain in the spine, a degenerative spine condition is to blame. A degenerative spine condition often develops as the spine ages and the components of the spine begin to wear down. Over time, the vertebrae in the spine can begin to press down on the discs that rest in between them.

As the vertebrae continue to compress the discs, the discs may begin to shift, bulge or even herniate. This results in the movement of the components of the spine, in this case, the discs, out of the normal alignment of the spinal cord. When this happens, the protruding disc can impact a nerve root in the spinal canal, sending symptoms of pain, tingling, numbness and weakness through the nerve pathway.

If you are experiencing pain in the neck or back, sometimes accompanied by pain in the arm or leg, you should contact your doctor to determine if you have a pinched nerve near your spine. He or she can help diagnose the cause of your pain and find you a treatment option that will get you back to the lifestyle you enjoy. To learn more about the causes of nerve pain in the spine as well as the treatments available to relieve your condition, read the following article.

Alternative causes of nerve pain in the spine

Causes of nerve pain are not always degenerative in nature. Other conditions that can contribute to nerve pain symptoms include:

  • Physical trauma, including sudden injuries, fractures, prolonged overexertion, stroke or highly invasive surgeries can all cause nerve pain
  • Tumors, in addition to the effects of treatments like radiation and chemotherapy, can trigger nerve pain
  • Disease or infection from conditions like lupus, shingles, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and spinal meningitis, among others, can cause inflammation that puts pressure on spinal nerves
  • Congenital defects like spina bifida, scoliosis, lordosis and kyphosis are anatomical abnormalities that can cause spinal nerve pain

Treatment methods for nerve pain in the spine

If your nerve pain is caused by a degenerative condition like a herniated disc, bulging disc, bone spurs, spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis or spinal osteoarthritis, your doctor will most likely recommend conservative treatment. Nonsurgical treatment is often an effective way to realign the spine and remove pressure from the nerve root without having to undergo surgery.

However, some individuals with severe nerve pain will seek more targeted treatment options but want to avoid the risks and lengthy recuperation of a highly invasive traditional open spine surgery. For these patients, Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive decompression and stabilization surgery that is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery.^

Our minimally invasive decompression surgery removes a small portion of the damaged disc or bone spur that is compressing the nerve root in the spinal canal. Once the pressure on the nerve root is released, the symptoms should subside. In some cases, the entire damaged disc needs to be removed because it can no longer support the surrounding vertebrae.

In this case, our board-certified surgeons+ may follow a decompression surgery with a stabilization procedure, which means that the surgeons would remove the damaged disc and replace it with an artificial disc and bone graft to stabilize the spine. To find out if you are a potential candidate for our muscle-sparing procedures, reach out to our dedicated team today and ask for a free MRI review.*

All of our procedures are performed through a small incision that avoids the disruption of surrounding muscles and ligaments. This minimally invasive approach allows our patients to experience a shorter recovery time and reduces hospital-associated costs^ with our outpatient surgery. If you would like to learn more about minimally invasive procedures for nerve decompression, contact Laser Spine Institute.