What causes nerve pain?

Nerve pain occurs when a nerve in the body (usually near the spine) is pinched or compressed.

Because a nerve sends signals of pain and movement between the brain, spine and extremities, a compressed nerve can result in pain and symptoms of weakness that can travel from the spine and into the arms or legs, depending on the location of the nerve.

For example, a pinched nerve in the lower back may result in nerve pain that starts in the lower back and travels down the nerve pathway into the buttocks, leg and foot. In some severe cases, symptoms of weakness and tingling may even occur along the nerve pathway. Other symptoms include:

  • Pain that radiates along the length of the nerve
  • Pain at the site of the nerve
  • Muscle weakness or excessive fatigue
  • Diminished reflexes
  • Numbness and tingling
  • A burning or pins-and-needles sensation

Causes of nerve pain in the spine

Nerve pain in the spine can develop from a number of conditions, some mild in nature, such as muscle strain, and some more severe, like a degenerative spine condition. For mild causes of nerve pain, symptoms usually go away after a few days of rest. This is especially true if a pulled muscle is inflamed and pressing against a nerve. Simply resting the muscle and letting it heal should reduce your pain in a few days.

If your pain continues after a week or so, you should schedule a visit with your doctor to determine what is causing your symptoms. Typically, lasting pain in the neck or back is caused by a degenerative spine condition, such as:

  • Herniated disc
  • Bulging disc
  • Degenerative disc disease (DDD)
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Arthritis of the spine (spinal osteoarthritis)
  • Bone spurs (osteophytes)

These conditions develop as the spine endures years of wear and tear from aging and repetitive motion. As a component of the spine deteriorates, it may cause a section of the spine to move out of alignment and press against a nearby nerve, causing nerve pain.

Spine surgery for nerve pain relief

If you are experiencing nerve pain as a result of a degenerative spine condition and your doctor has recommended spine surgery for nerve pain relief, contact Laser Spine Institute and learn about the benefits of our minimally invasive spine surgery. Our minimally invasive decompression surgery has helped many patients find relief from nerve compression, as has our minimally invasive stabilization surgery in cases of a severely pinched nerve. Both types of procedures aim to reduce your nerve pain by removing the pressure from the pinched nerve in your spine. Because of our minimally invasive approach to the spine, our patients have a reduced risk of infection and complication and a shorter recovery time^ than patients who choose traditional open back surgery.

Contact Laser Spine Institute today and request a review of your MRI or CT scan.