Spinal neuralgia

Spinal neuralgia is a term that describes pain and other symptoms caused by compression of spinal nerve roots or spinal cord.

The nerve roots and spinal cord are part of the central nervous system and are responsible or relaying messages between the brain, spine and extremities. When nerve compression or irritation occurs within the spine, it can send pain signals between the spine, brain and extremities, producing symptoms of pain, tingling, numbness or muscle weakness.

The area where symptoms arise depends on the location of the nerve compression. In the cervical (neck) spine, nerve compression can produce symptoms in the neck, shoulders, arms, hands or fingers. In the lumbar (lower back) spine, symptoms can develop in the lower back, buttocks, legs, feet or toes.

Causes of spinal neuralgia

The cervical and lumbar regions of the spine are most frequently affected by conditions that lead to nerve compression. This is because the vertebrae of those regions are responsible for supporting the weight and movement of the head and upper body, respectively. This constant pressure on the spine over several years can cause natural deterioration within the discs, joints and vertebrae, which can lead to the development of a degenerative spine condition.

The most common degenerative spine conditions that cause neuralgia include:

  • Arthritis of the spine — degeneration of the facet joints, where the vertebrae meet and flex; can irritate adjacent nerve roots
  • Spinal stenosis — a narrowing of the spinal canal or the foramina, which are the openings through which nerve roots pass
  • 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 is displaced from its normal boundary and can press against the spinal cord or a nerve root
  • Spondylolisthesis — the slippage of one vertebra over another, either from degeneration or a traumatic injury

Treatment for spinal neuralgia

More often than not, symptoms associated with spinal nerve compression can be managed using conservative treatments such as pain medication, exercise, epidural injections and others.

However, if chronic pain continues and all conservative treatment options have been exhausted, surgery may become an option.

The minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute provides patients with a safer and effective alternative to traditional open neck or open back surgery. To date, our minimally invasive decompression surgery and minimally invasive stabilization surgery has helped more than 75,000 patients recapture their lives from chronic neck and back pain.

Contact Laser Spine Institute today to learn more about the advantages of our minimally invasive procedures and to receive a review of your MRI report or CT scan to see if you are a potential candidate.