While pinched nerves in your neck may affect your shoulders, arms and/or hands, myelopathy can involve both your arms and legs. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body and runs down the back of your legs. When this nerve is injured, pain can radiate from the lower back to the buttocks, hips, and legs. Patients who suffer from sciatica may also feel numbness, weakness, or a tingling sensation.
MRI. Magnetic resonance imaging uses a magnetic field and radio frequency to create a picture of bones, soft tissues, and organs. It gives your doctor a picture of your spinal cord, the nerves, and the discs of the spine, which are the most commonly affected structures in cases of back pain. With an MRI, your doctor can see if there’s serious damage to a disk or a pinched nerve, says Figuereo. But using an MRI scan is somewhat controversial, since some experts believe they often show abnormalities that aren’t related to pain. Any neurologist is highly specialized in diagnosing back pain and neck pain, and in assessing risks and treatment options. Every back pain and neck pain patient is unique, with different degrees of problems associated with a bone or disc abnormality.
For naming purposes they are divided into cervical , thoracic (mid-back), lumbar and sacral regions. Vertebrae support your entire body and help us to sit, stand, walk and move. The most important function of the vertebrae is to protect the spinal cord and spinal nerves. When the vertebrae, discs , and soft tissue are injured, compression of a nerve can occur .
Talk to your primary care provider if you experience chronic back pain or neck pain. Your doctor can help you determine if you should see a specialist, such as a neurologist, for your symptoms. Some health insurance plans require a referral from your primary care physician.
An independent neurologist who has seen thousands of similar patients can find the best surgeon for your case. Unfortunately, some patients can’t be helped by even the best physical therapy. Disc herniation can be too extreme, bone can build up around nerves to the point where they no longer fit through, or the spine can become unstable on standing for many reasons.
Some people experience pain in both legs, though one leg can be worse than the other. The spinal nerves from the thoracic spine are involved with the function of the chest and abdomen. The exception is with the first spinal injury neurology expert witness thoracic nerve, which is also responsible for the ring and pinky fingers. A pinched nerve at the thoracic levels may cause pain and/or numbness in the back, chest, abdomen, and/or the ring and pinky finger.
Certain structural spine conditions, including degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis, can cause ongoing pain until they are successfully treated. If the pain caused by these types of conditions has not subsided after a few weeks or months of nonsurgical treatments, spine surgery may usually be considered as a treatment option. In reality, this type of chronic pain might be conceptualized as a long term acute pain even though the term chronic pain is used. On the potentially severe end of cervical spinal stenosis symptoms are those associated with cervical myelopathy. Cervical myelopathy occurs when the spinal canal narrows to the point that it compresses the spinal cord in your neck.
The individual may also experience ongoing numbness, tingling, or weakness. Pain may be felt along the nerve path from the spine down to the arms/hands or legs/feet. If low back pain occurs after a recent injury — such as a car accident, a fall or sports injury — call your primary care physician immediately. If no neurologic problems are present, the patient may benefit by beginning conservative treatment at home for two to three weeks.
Treatment of sciatica is usually multi-modal and includes anti-inflammatories, physical therapy, and often epidural steroid injections. Neurogenic sciatica is caused by compression of the sciatic nerve, caused by a number of things, such as bulging discs to tight muscles. The discs can bulge, herniate, or burst, and this causes pressure on the nerves along the spine.