The condition of neuralgia is a spinal pain that is caused by compression or injury to the spine and is often described as a burning pain.
This type of pain can have an electric, tingling, or warm sensation and often may feel as if it is traveling from one area of the body to another- which is due to the pain signals following the path of the nerve that is distressed.
When it comes to your spine, neural compression can be due to a variety of different factors- but the common cause is degeneration that comes along with the natural process of aging.
Though aging is a natural process, it can be accelerated by the condition of fibromyalgia, which is a condition characterized by widespread pain.
Degenerative spinal conditions often accompany the condition of fibro and have been known to cause burning pain and neural compression.
These conditions include: bulging discs, spinal stenosis, bone spurs, spondylolisthesis, and herniated discs as well as several others. These conditions will have a different effect on each level of the spine:
Cervical: in the cervical spine, pain often begins in the neck and then travels through to the shoulders, then to the arms, then to the hands and fingers.
Thoracic: burning nerve pain is less common than cervical or lumbar, but compression of the nerves in the middle of your back can result in pain around your abdomen, rib cage, kidneys, or chest.
Lumbar: this is the most common area for burning pain to occur in the spine, from here the pain travels through your hips and buttocks to your legs and feet. Nerve pain in this area is most commonly referred to as sciatica.
Treating Burning Nerve Pain
If you are dealing with burning nerve pain, spend some time working with your physician to develop a treatment plan.
This will often include both hot and cold compresses, behavior modification, pain medications, or even selective nerve block injections.
Due to the fact that the causes of nerve pain are varied, it can be difficult to prevent this condition. However, once you have figured out what is causing your nerve pain, you can learn to take preventative steps to avoid your triggers and live your life nearly pain free.
Causes of Nerve Pain
As mentioned, nerve pain is often referred to as neuralgia, and can manifest itself when your spinal cord or other nerves is under compression.
For example, if you are suffering from a herniated or bulging disc, pressure is exerted when the disc expands into your spinal canal.
Typically, this expansion will occur slowly as the cartilage loses water and gets dried out. The tough outer wall of the cartilage begins to weaken and the inner gel-like nucleus begins to push out, causing a bulge.
If the outer wall of the cartilage cracks, the nucleus begins to seep out, which results in a condition known as a herniated disc. Either of these can be due to age-related degeneration, the condition of fibro, a traumatic injury, falling from a tall height, or incorrectly picking up a heavy item.
Some other factors that could result in nerve pain include infections, disease, inflammation, and exposure to toxins or chemicals that could have an adverse reaction with your nerves.
Burning nerve pain is a very common condition, affecting the nervous system in people of all ages. After all, no matter how old you are or what condition you are in, and a nerve is impinged upon or damaged, the signals will misfire, sending messages to the brain.
In some cases, the signals may be interrupted, leading to feelings of numbness, tingling, and weakness. If the damage occurs on your spine, pain could develop at the site of the damage causing pain, weakness, tingling, and numbness that could radiate into your arms and legs.
Risk Factors of Spinal Burning Pain
There are several risk factors for spinal burning pain, some of them are preventable and some of them are not.
However, you first must consider the sites where the pain could begin. Your spine consists of three parts, as mentioned: cervical, thoracic, and lumbar.
Nerve compression is most likely to develop in the lumbar or cervical regions as they are subjected to the most stress and movement.
On the other hand, compression of nerves in the thoracic region is rare due to the fact that the vertebrae are much more stable and are able to benefit from the support of the rib cage.
Following are some of the risk factors for nerve pain:
Age: it is possible that age is a risk factor for nerve pain, as your discs go through degeneration over time. As they deteriorate, they might expand, causing pressure on the spinal cord or even a nerve root.
Occupation: individuals who have occupations that require them to lift heavy items every day put additional strain on their necks and backs.
Smoking: when you smoke, cigarettes release toxins into your body, which can speed up the process of degenerative disc disease.
Poor posture: when you slouch in your chair, or hunch over a steering wheel or desk for prolonged periods of time, you risk causing your spine to abnormally align, which leads to pinched nerves and spinal burning.
Injuries: if you have ever played sports or been in an accident, it can result in immediate spinal burning- but it’s also possible that symptoms will develop later on in life as part of the normal aging process.
Illnesses: chronic conditions, such as fibro, could also lead to spinal burning and other nerve problems.
Preventing Spinal Burning
While it is true that you will most likely not be able to control the development of nerve pain, there are some steps you can take to slow down the onset and progression of the symptoms:
Avoid cigarettes: as mentioned, the toxins in cigarette smoke can cause your discs to deteriorate quicker than normal.
Maintain posture: when you’re sitting or standing, make sure that your posture is correct. Make sure to adjust desk chairs and computer monitors as necessary to avoid causing additional stress and strain on your back and neck.
Always lift with your legs: when you lift with your back, you end up putting entirely too much pressure on your spine, which causes a herniated or bulging disc.