Risk factors for neuralgia

Neuralgia is a broad term used to describe any kind of pain or discomfort that results from nerve compression or dysfunction. This term is often used in reference to a pinched nerve near the spine that is causing chronic neck or back pain.

While there are many factors that can cause spinal neuralgia, the most common cause of this condition is simply the natural aging process of the spine. Even though getting older is unavoidable, there are certain lifestyle changes that can lower your risk of developing a spine condition that causes nerve pain. Understanding these simple changes can help you avoid or postpone the development of nerve pain in your neck or back.

Common risk factors for neuralgia (nerve pain)

The most common cause of neuralgia in adults is a degenerative spine condition. A degenerative condition is one that has occurred over time as the spine naturally begins to deteriorate as a result of natural loss of water content combined with the strain of everyday movement.

As the joints and discs of the spine wear down, they can develop a spine condition such as herniated disc or facet disease, which causes them to move out of alignment of the spine and potentially compress the spinal cord or an exiting nerve root.

While the natural aging process of the spine is often the cause of nerve pain, there are several controllable factors that can increase your risk of developing a degenerative spine condition, such as:

  • Obesity
  • Participation in high-impact activities like football or gymnastics
  • Regular alcohol use
  • Smoking
  • Sedentary lifestyle

These factors are often preventable and by taking the proper steps to manage them, you can increase your spine’s overall health and decrease your risk of developing a spine condition and nerve pain.

Treatment options for neuralgia

Sometimes even the best prevention methods do not stop the spine from developing a condition that leads to neuralgia. If you are suffering from chronic neck or back pain, ask your physician about at-home treatments and other nonsurgical options, such as physical therapy and yoga, which can help relieve the pressure on your pinched nerve.

If these treatments do not help relieve your pain after a few months and your doctor suggests the possibility of surgery, contact our team at Laser Spine Institute to learn about the benefits of our minimally invasive spine surgery. Many cases of neuralgia may be treated with our minimally invasive decompression surgery. However, if the spine has undergone more severe damage and nerve compression, minimally invasive stabilization surgery may be recommended as an alternative to a traditional open spinal fusion.

A member of our caring and dedicated team will be happy to provide a free review of your MRI* to determine if you may be a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute.