Is prevention of neuralgia possible?

While patients cannot completely prevent neuralgia, there are steps that can reduce the risk of developing this nerve condition. Neuralgia, or neuropathic pain, is pain that follows the path of a nerve. It differs from nociceptive pain in that it does not occur because of an injury that stimulates pain receptors. Rather, it occurs because of internal compression or damage to a local nerve or nerve root.

Neuralgia can occur in any region of the body, though one of the most common forms of neuralgia is sciatica, which originates in the lumbar spine (lower back) and causes pain, numbness and tingling that can radiate through the hips, buttocks, legs and feet.

Ways to reduce your risk of developing neuralgia

Neuralgia in the form of sciatica is most often caused by spinal degeneration that accompanies the natural aging process. As the components of your spine begin to deteriorate, anatomical abnormalities can develop, such as herniated disc, bulging disc, spondylolisthesis (vertebral slippage) and bone spurs. Keeping your vertebrae, vertebral facet joints and intervertebral discs as healthy as possible is the best way to reduce your risk of neuralgia.

Try adhering to the following rules:

  • Do not smoke.
  • Eat foods that are low in saturated fat.
  • Eat foods high in calcium, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Try to maintain proper posture.
  • Do not participate in heavy lifting or other activities that put undue stress on the neck or back.
  • Make sure your exercises are low-impact.

Neuralgia symptoms to watch for

Although you may take all the needed steps to help in the prevention of neuralgia, spinal degeneration is a fact of life. You may never experience any neuralgia symptoms, but it’s a good idea to look out for any sensations of pain, tingling, numbness, weakness or throbbing that seem to originate in the back and travel through the extremities. If you do experience these symptoms and your physician diagnoses you with neuralgia, he or she may suggest that you attempt a conservative course of treatment that includes pain medication, hot/cold compresses and behavior modification.

If months of conservative treatment do not offer you the pain relief you require, contact us at Laser Spine Institute. We offer a variety of minimally invasive procedures for neuralgia and sciatica that are performed on an outpatient basis, using effective minimally invasive technology. Call today for your MRI review to see if you are a candidate for our surgery.