What causes nerve pain?

Nerve pain occurs when a nerve in the body, including the spine, is pinched or compressed.

Because a nerve sends sensory and motor information between the brain and the rest of the body, a compressed nerve can result in pain and mobility problems along the path of the affected 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 cases of nerve pain, symptoms should go away after a few days of rest and basic treatment like an ice pack and over-the-counter medication. 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. Often, lasting pain in the neck or back is caused by a degenerative spine condition, such as:

  • Herniated discs
  • Bulging discs
  • Degenerative disc disease (DDD)
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Spinal osteoarthritis
  • Bone spurs

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.

When to consider spine surgery for nerve pain relief

Even with degenerative spine conditions, relief from nerve pain can often be achieved by following your doctor’s recommendation for conservative treatments such as physical therapy or spinal injections. However, if you are experiencing nerve pain that has lasted weeks or months and you have exhausted nonsurgical therapies, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about the benefits of our minimally invasive spine surgery.

We provide minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization procedures to help patients dealing with nerve pain. Both types of procedures aim to reduce your nerve pain by removing the pressure from the pinched nerve in your spine, with our stabilization surgery being an alternative to highly invasive fusion procedures. 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.

Reach out to Laser Spine Institute today and request a free review of your MRI or CT scan* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our outpatient procedures.