Nerve pain in the back

If you are living with chronic nerve pain in the back, you understand the significant impact this pain can have on your lifestyle and overall quality of life.

Nerve pain in the back can prevent you from doing the activities that you enjoy, like walking, golfing or gardening. It can also keep you from doing the activities that are necessary, such as sleeping, sitting or standing. This type of chronic pain can be caused by something as simple as a pulled or strained muscle in the back from improper lifting or twisting, or it could be caused by something more serious, like a spine condition.

If you are experiencing nerve pain and discomfort constantly for more than a week or two, you should schedule an appointment with your physician to find out the cause of your pain and the treatment options available to you.

Potential causes of nerve pain

Nerve pain in the back occurs when a nerve in the spine or spinal canal is pinched by either a damaged disc or joint in the spine or by a pulled or strained muscle near the spine.

The most common cause of nerve compression is a degenerative spine condition, which describes a piece of the spine that has become damaged over time due to years of natural wear and tear. The most common forms of degenerative spine conditions include:

  • Degenerative disc disease — Herniated disc material or the walls of a bulging disc come into contact with a nerve.
  • Facet disease — Inflamed soft tissue from osteoarthritis (arthritis of the spine) compresses a nerve.
  • Osteophytes — Bone spurs form in the spinal column and facet joints and can press against a nearby nerve.
  • Spinal stenosis — Narrowing of the spinal canal or foraminal canals constricts the nerves.
  • Spondylolisthesis — A vertebra “slips” over the top of the vertebra below it, causing spinal misalignment that could compress a nerve.

In some cases, these degenerative spine conditions can cause other conditions to develop. For example, a bulging disc may cause spinal stenosis because it pushes into the spinal canal and narrows the passageway for the nerves. For this reason, it is important that you have a physician diagnose your condition so he or she can determine the root cause of your pain and the best treatment option for your needs.

Treatment options for pinched nerve pain in the back

Many patients have found lasting pain relief from conservative, nonsurgical treatment methods used to relieve the pressure on the pinched nerve that is causing your pain. These conservative treatments work to block the pain receptors along the nerve pathway and also to lengthen and stretch the spine to move the pressure off the pinched nerve. The most common forms of conservative treatment include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Chiropractic care
  • Yoga and stretching
  • Pain medication
  • Lifestyle changes, such as weight loss and stopping smoking

While these treatments are often effective for patients with a pinched nerve in the back, not all patients find relief conservatively. Some patients require spine surgery to find lasting pain relief. If you are researching spine surgery options to treat your pinched nerve, we encourage you to look into the minimally invasive spine surgery offered at Laser Spine Institute.

Our minimally invasive spine surgery offers patients a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery.^ Depending on the cause of your pinched nerve, information about minimally invasive decompression or stabilization surgery will be provided. While most patients can find relief through a decompression surgery, some more severe cases of nerve compression may require a stabilization surgery. Because our procedures are performed through a small incision that does not affect the surrounding muscles, our patients experience a shorter recovery time,^ lower risk and higher patient satisfaction score than patients who choose traditional open back surgery.

To find out if you qualify for one of our minimally invasive spine procedures, contact Laser Spine Institute today and ask for a review of your MRI or CT scan.