What is nerve pain?
You’re not sure what’s causing it or where it’s stemming from, but you do know one thing — it really hurts. Maybe you’ve twisted your lower back and you have some sciatic pain shooting down one leg. Maybe a neck injury has caused a gradual onset of pins and needles in your arm. No matter what kind of pain you’re in, learning about your condition is the first step toward nerve pain management.
“All pain we perceive — whether it’s from a cut, fracture, headache, nerve compression or other condition — is information that is transmitted by our nervous system,” said Jeffrey Langmaid, D.C., a Chiropractor and Consult Physician at Laser Spine Institute. “In relation to spinal nerve pain, we traditionally think of a pinched or compressed nerve, also known as stenosis.”
Simply put, compressive nerve pain is caused by a nerve that’s under pressure. Depending on your condition, you may have a burning pain, an electric-shock pain, difficulty walking, radiating pain, fatigue or decreased endurance, along with an ache or pain in the affected area.
What causes spinal nerve pain?
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, you may have a pinched nerve in your neck or back. But where did it come from? According to Dr. Langmaid, there are three big things that spine care experts look at when diagnosing spinal nerve pain.
“Genetics, age and trauma are three factors we predominately look at,” said Dr. Langmaid. “Together, these elements have the ability to affect the structures of a nerve and the tissues around it — they all play a role in how you feel at any given point in time.”
Nerve pain in your neck and back may be caused by a variety of spine conditions, such as degenerative disc disease, bone spurs, sciatica, spinal stenosis and bulging/herniated discs, among others. As surprising as it may sound, the natural aging process is a common cause of many spine conditions but each diagnosis depends on each individual’s examination.
How do you avoid spinal nerve pain?
Taking charge of your spine health is a proactive way to decrease your chances of developing nerve pain as you get older. According to Dr. Langmaid, staying hydrated will help your tissues to stay more flexible, greatly decreasing your chance of injury. Other preventative measures include practicing the right bending and lifting techniques, as well as changing positions frequently.
“Our bodies are designed to move,” said Dr. Langmaid. “If you’re working a blue-collar job, be sure to practice safe bending, lifting and twisting, but when you go home, don’t sit on the couch for eight hours without moving. The same applies if you’re sitting at the office all day — don’t forget to safely bend and lift when you’re outside of work.”
How do you treat spinal nerve pain?
“Before treating any kind of nerve root pain, it’s important to find out what the stimulus is,” said. Dr. Langmaid. “Nerve pain can be treated through a vast array of modalities, but finding the cause is going to dictate the best treatment option for the patient.”
Conservative care, or nonsurgical treatment, is typically the first line of defense against neck and back pain. This can include chiropractic care, physical therapy, pain management injections and even alternative therapies like acupuncture.
If nonsurgical treatments haven’t helped you find relief from chronic neck or back pain, don’t give up on a solution. Contact our team at Laser Spine Institute for a no-cost MRI review* — you may be a possible candidate for our minimally invasive outpatient procedures.