Pain in our arms and legs can be troublesome. Especially when the pain becomes severe or chronic, it can disrupt our lives. Ice or heat therapy is often recommended to help alleviate the pain and discomfort. However, when this pain is chronic and presents itself as sharp or with tingling sensations, the issue may not be where the pain actually is.
Our spinal column, with the numerous vertebra, not only helps support our body and provide stability needed for balanced and controlled movement, but it also protects the spinal cord and the branches of nerves that reach the rest of our body.
Sometimes, the narrow space between the vertebra where the nerve branches pass can become compressed. This can be caused by a slipped or herniated disc, bone spur, or other spinal conditions.
When a nerve in the small space becomes pinched, it can cause the sensation of pain nearly anywhere along its entire length. One of the most common nerves that are pinched and cause pain is the sciatic nerve that runs from your lumbar spine through the back of the legs to the bottom of the feet. This is called sciatica and causes pain that can travel along this path.
Treatment of the symptoms and pain where they present themselves can help alleviate this discomfort. However, if these are caused by a pinched nerve, this relief may be temporary until the main cause is resolved and the pressure against the nerve is alleviated.
Rest, maintaining good posture, and avoiding strain and stress on the back can help. Some other conservative treatments include spinal manipulation and anti-inflammatory medication. When these treatments do not help, spinal surgery may be required. This is especially true if the pain increases or motor function in the affected limb decreases.
If you have chronic pain in an arm or leg that returns after localized treatment, contact Princeton Neurological Surgery in the Hamilton, NJ, area to see if this is caused by a pinched nerve. Call 609-890-3400 or visit www.princetonneurologicalsurgery.com to schedule a spinal exam.