What should I do if I think I have neuralgia?

If you believe you have neuralgia, or nerve pain, you should schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. Before you arrive for your appointment, do some preliminary research about nerve pain, and write down any questions you need to ask. In addition, several days or weeks before seeing your physician, record some information about the location, nature, severity and frequency of your symptoms so you can help your physician arrive at an accurate diagnosis.

Diagnosing neuralgia

Neuralgia can be caused when a local nerve, a nerve root or the spinal cord becomes compressed by another part of the body. While obesity, poor posture, disease or congenital disorders can contribute to neuralgia, the main source of spinal nerve compression is degenerative conditions like herniated and bulging discs, spondylolisthesis, bone spurs or spinal stenosis.

While a physical examination and a review of your medical history will help your physician diagnose your neuralgia, medical imaging tests will likely be necessary to confirm a diagnosis and pinpoint the exact location of your neural compression. These tests may include the following:

  • MRI — Magnetic resonance imaging is radiation free and uses magnetic radio frequency fields to construct an image of the body.
  • CT scan — Computed tomography uses a series of 2-D X-rays to create a 3-D image.
  • Radiograph — An X-ray that produces a cross-sectional image used to view the density and composition of bodily tissues.

Conservative treatments for neuralgia

If your primary care physician confirms a diagnosis of neuralgia, he or she will typically prescribe an initial course of conservative treatment. This could include pain medication, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, hot and cold compresses, intermittent rest or lifestyle changes.

However, if you find that weeks or months of conservative treatments are unable to bring a level of relief necessary to return to normal activities, contact Laser Spine Institute. We perform minimally invasive outpatient procedures that provide many advantages over the risks and long recuperation^ of a traditional open spine surgery.

Reach out to our Care Team and request a no-cost MRI review* to find out if you may be a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery.