What’s causing your nerve pain? 

Backpain_Man with spine x-ray_rf123-13655194_RF_cmyk“You’re getting on my nerves!” It’s the universal plea: “Leave me alone!” But what happens when your nerves are the problem? You can’t exactly tell your nerves to take a hike, so what can you do? Many people suffer from associated nerve pain and assume that it’s something they just have to live with, but that’s not the case. Read on to learn about common conditions that can lead to nerve pain—and find out what you can do about them.

Possible causes. The most probable explanation for nerve pain would be the simple and yet equally frustrating answer of “aging.” Over time, your spine begins to lose its flexibility and can degenerate and even develop bone spurs. This can further lead to a narrowing of the spinal column, a condition called spinal stenosis, resulting in pain as nerve endings are uncomfortably compressed. A pinched nerve could also be the cause, and this situation can be addressed without much trouble. Less likely causes range from bone spurs to injury. It’s best to visit your doctor so you can learn the exact cause of the persistent pain you’re experiencing.

Treatment. The good news is that, according to Paul C. McCormick, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.N.S. of Columbia Presbyterian Spine Center, the majority of patients who suffer from lower back pain do not require surgery. The best advice is to strengthen your back by incorporating low-impact exercise into your life, ice the affected area when experiencing acute pain, and start stretching on a regular basis. You should also be careful to monitor your activity level and watch out for those that consistently trigger pain. Once you’ve identified those movements, find new ones to avoid triggering more discomfort. Keep a pain journal to track the times you experience nerve pain; these notes may prove helpful when working with your doctor to determine the cause of pain.

If your back pain persists despite these minor adjustments, you should visit your primary care physician for a better assessment of your situation.

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