What is neuralgia? Information about causes and treatments

Neuralgia is sharp, shooting pain associated with nerve dysfunction. This pain can occur intermittently in one area of the body or can radiate along the length of a damaged nerve.

Other symptoms of neurological dysfunction, called neuropathy, include tingling, numbness or weakness in a group of muscles connected to the problem nerve. These symptoms can occur anywhere in the body, including the cervical (upper) and lumbar (lower) regions of the spine due to their flexibility and vulnerability to degenerative spine conditions.

What are the common causes of neuralgia?

There are many potential causes of nerve dysfunction throughout the body, including:

  • Certain drugs
  • Chemical irritation
  • Kidney malfunction
  • Diabetes
  • Infections, including shingles
  • Traumatic injury
  • Inflammation
  • Tumors

The shared characteristic of these potential causes of neuralgia is an interference with the function of the central or peripheral nervous systems.

Among the most common conditions that cause nerve compression and neuralgia in the spine include bone spurs, herniated discs and bulging discs. These conditions commonly develop as the spine naturally weakens over time, which can lead to the compression of a nerve root or the spinal cord, ultimately resulting in symptoms of neuralgia.

What is the best way to treat neuralgia?

Neuralgia can often be treated conservatively, using pain medication, exercise or pain-blocking epidural steroid injections. However, if chronic symptoms continue after several weeks or months of conservative treatment, surgery can become an option. If you have been recommended to undergo a procedure for a spine condition, you may be a candidate for the minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute.

Our minimally invasive spine surgery offers several advantages over traditional open neck or back surgery, including a shorter recovery time^ and lower risk of complications. Our surgeons provide minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization surgeries to treat degenerative spine conditions on an outpatient basis.

To see if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute today and request a no-cost review of your MRI report or CT scan.*