Causes of neuralgia

Neuralgia is a medical term used to describe any pain or symptoms caused by an injury or condition of the nervous system.

Because the nervous system can be affected by so many conditions and illnesses, such as a spine condition, injury or autoimmune disease, sometimes diagnosing the exact cause of the pain and symptoms can be difficult. Symptoms can occur in any portion of the body from head to toe, and the severity of the symptoms can also vary from case to case. In terms of the spine, neuralgia is pain, tingling, numbness or muscle weakness produced by compression or irritation of the spinal cord or nearby nerve roots.

Common causes of nervous system pain (neuralgia)

The nervous system is vulnerable to several conditions that can cause pain to travel the nerve pathways throughout the nervous system. Neuralgia can be caused by:

  • Certain drugs
  • Chemical irritation
  • Diabetes
  • Infections, including shingles
  • Traumatic injury
  • Inflammation
  • Tumors that irritate nearby nerves

Spine conditions that develop as part of the aging process often are responsible for neuralgia. Degenerative spine conditions that may cause spinal neuralgia include:

  • Herniated disc — Gel-like nucleus material seeps out of a disc through a tear in the outer disc wall, which can irritate nearby nerves.
  • Bulging disc — The outer disc wall moves past its normal boundary and can press against the spinal cord or a nerve root.
  • Osteoarthritis — Degeneration of the facet joints, where the vertebrae meet and hinge, can irritate nearby nerve roots.
  • Spinal stenosis — A narrowing of the spinal canal or the foramina, which are the openings through which nerve roots pass.
  • Spondylolisthesis — The slippage of one vertebra over another, either from degeneration or a traumatic injury.

Treatment for causes of neuralgia

More often than not, symptoms produced by the many causes of neuralgia can be managed using conservative treatment methods. Under the direction of a physician, these can include pain medication, epidural steroidal injections, exercise, physical therapy, behavior modification and others.

If chronic symptoms persist after several weeks or months of conservative treatment, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more about our minimally invasive spine surgery used to treat common spine conditions. We offer minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures that reduce a patient’s risk of infection and complication compared to traditional open back surgery.

The minimally invasive decompression surgery we offer removes a small portion of the disc or bone spur that is pressing against the nerve. Once the nerve root is released, the symptoms of pain should subside. Our minimally invasive stabilization procedure removes the damaged disc or vertebra altogether and replaces it with an artificial disc and/or bone graft to immediately support the spine.

For more information about the benefits of our minimally invasive spine surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute today.