Peripheral nerve pain

Peripheral nerve pain is a symptom of damage or dysfunction of the peripheral nervous system (PNS), which is the vast network of nerves that send messages to and from the central nervous system (CNS — the brain and spinal cord).

Disorders of the PNS are known as peripheral neuropathy. A wide range of symptoms is associated with peripheral neuropathy, including tingling, numbness, muscle weakness and, of course, pain. Depending on the cause of your peripheral nerve pain, there are several treatment options available to you. Your doctor can recommend the treatment to best fit your needs and lifestyle.

Spine-related peripheral nerve pain

In terms of the spine, peripheral nerve pain is a result of the compression of a spinal nerve root. This can occur at any level of the spine, but is most common in the cervical (neck) and lumbar (lower back) regions. This is because the components of the neck and lower back are extremely flexible and bear a great deal of the body’s weight. This combination of stress-inducing movement and weight can accelerate the normal wear and tear that comes with age.

When vertebrae, spinal joints, ligaments, discs and other components of the spine begin to break down, nerve roots become vulnerable to compression. At times, this nerve root compression can produce symptoms that affect the PNS, including pain and tingling. There are more than 100 types of peripheral neuropathy, and a correspondingly large number of underlying causes. Here are a few of the most common causes of peripheral nerve pain:

  • Traumatic injury
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Kidney disorders
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Vascular damage
  • Toxins
  • Repetitive stress
  • Connective tissue disorders

Treatment for peripheral nerve pain

When peripheral neuropathy is related to nerve root compression caused by a degenerative spine condition such as bone spurs or a herniated disc, symptoms typically can be managed using conservative treatments such as pain medication, epidural injections, exercise and others.

If conservative treatment proves ineffective in relieving your chronic nerve pain after several weeks or months, you may be a candidate for the minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive spine procedures offer several advantages over traditional open neck and back surgery, including a shorter recovery time^ and lower risk of complication. Because we perform each minimally invasive decompression and stabilization surgery in one of our outpatient surgery centers, our patients benefit from a lower risk of infection compared to traditional spine surgery performed in a hospital.

To find out more about becoming a candidate for one of our procedures, contact Laser Spine Institute today and ask for a review of your MRI report or CT scan.