Various types of spinal pinched nerves — understanding your pain

Many pinched nerve types can cause painful neck or back symptoms. Laser Spine Institute can teach you what to look out for.

Understanding the types of spinal pinched nerves that you can experience can be helpful when you’re trying to pinpoint the cause of your chronic or acute pain.

Neural compressions, commonly known as “pinched nerves,” are a usually just a natural part of getting older — the result of deteriorating spinal components and abnormalities that develop in the spaces around your vertebrae, like bone spurs or intervertebral discs that bulge or herniate. Such conditions result in smaller and smaller spaces for the nerves to occupy, squeezing the nerve tissue and irritating it, causing pain, weakness and/or general discomfort. A nerve can also become pinched because of a condition known as “spondylolisthesis,” in which a vertebra slips slightly out of place, usually due to spinal arthritis or disc problems.

Pinched nerves in the upper spine

The location of the pinched nerve can determine the kind of weakness or discomfort you may be experiencing. For instance, the neck — the cervical region of the spine — is a common location for neural compressions. It moves and twists every time we nod or shake our heads, turn to look at our neighbor when we talk, duck under a low-hanging branch, or any other of the many day-to-day experiences that we engage in without a second thought. A pinched nerve in the neck may cause symptoms in the neck itself, or anywhere in the upper back, shoulders, arms or hands. A pinched nerve in the neck can also cause headaches, and some patients have even experienced dizziness or vertigo.

Pinched nerves in the lower spine

The lumbar region of the spine — the lower back — facilitates our ability to crouch down, to sit with a friend, take a stroll, and the many other activities that require movement in the lower part of our bodies. This is also the section of the spine that supports the majority of our body weight, so it is especially vulnerable to degeneration of spinal components. A pinched nerve here can cause symptoms in areas such as the:

  • Lower back
  • Hips
  • Buttocks
  • Legs
  • Feet

Contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more about the various types of spinal pinched nerves and what our experts can do to help relieve your neck and back pain.

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