How to treat nerve pain

Treating nerve pain depends largely on the cause and location of the nerve pain.

For many patients, nerve pain commonly occurs in the neck or back along the spine. This can be caused by an injury, pulled muscle or spine condition that is pressing against the nerve. While these conditions can sometimes go unnoticed, symptoms and pain develop when a nearby nerve is pinched or compressed.

Sometimes, if the cause of your nerve pain is a pulled muscle or minor injury, the pain will go away after a few days with rest. However, if you have been experiencing this pain in your neck or back steadily for a week or more, and it is not decreasing, you should schedule an appointment with your physician to diagnose the cause of your pain and start a treatment for pain relief.

Diagnosing the cause of nerve pain

The first step to treating nerve pain is to find the cause of the pain. Nerve pain is sometimes difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can travel far away from the actual location of the pinched nerve.

For example, a pinched nerve in the neck can travel through the shoulder and into the arm and hand. In some cases, the pain may only appear in the arm or hand and not in the neck. Instances like this make it sometimes difficult to diagnose the location and cause of your pain; however, most physicians will perform a physical exam to test for pinched nerves along the spine. A physical exam, sometimes accompanied by an MRI or CT scan, can help your doctor determine if you have a degenerative spine condition that is compressing a nerve. This is often the most common cause of chronic nerve pain.

Some of the most common degenerative spine conditions include:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Facet disease
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Bone spurs
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Other forms of osteoarthritis (arthritis of the spine)
  • Herniated disc
  • Bulging disc

Treatment plans for nerve pain

Once the doctor determines what is causing your nerve pain, you can begin the second step of the treatment process: starting a treatment plan for pain relief.

Many patients can find lasting pain relief from nonsurgical treatment options, such as physical therapy and lifestyle changes (weight loss and exercise). Your physician can help you find the best nonsurgical treatments based on the cause of your condition and your medical history.

If these treatments do not provide effective pain relief, you may be a candidate for the minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute. We offer minimally invasive decompression and stabilization surgery to relieve nerve pain caused by the most common spine conditions. Our minimally invasive approach to the spine allows our patients to experience a safer and effective surgical alternative to traditional open back surgery and a shorter recovery time.^

For more information about how to treat nerve pain, or to see if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute today and ask for a review of your MRI or CT scan.