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, which occurs because of an injury that stimulates pain receptors. Rather, neuralgia happens 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 (lower) spine 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, conditions can develop such as herniated disc, bulging disc, spondylolisthesis (vertebral slippage) and bone spurs. Keeping your vertebrae, vertebral facet joints and spinal discs as healthy as possible can be a great way to reduce your risk of neuralgia related to spinal nerve compression.

Doctors often recommend the following to promote the long-term health of the spine:

  • Do not smoke.
  • Eat a balanced, nutrient-rich diet high in protein, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Maintain proper posture.
  • Do not participate in heavy lifting or other activities that put undue stress on the neck or back.
  • Stay active with low-impact exercises that improve cardiovascular health while stretching and strengthening supporting muscles.

Neuralgia symptoms to watch for

Even if you take all the needed steps to help in the prevention of neuralgia, spinal degeneration happens to everyone to some extent. You may never experience any neuralgia symptoms, but ones to look out for include 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 doctor 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 necessary lifestyle changes like improving posture or quitting smoking.

If months of conservative treatment do not offer you the pain relief you require, contact the dedicated team at Laser Spine Institute. We perform a range of minimally invasive spine surgery for neuralgia and sciatica that is performed on an outpatient basis, offering our patients a shorter recovery time and less risk of complication compared to traditional open neck or back procedures.^

Call today for your free MRI review* to see if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.