Our spinal nerves branch out from the spinal cord and allow us to feel sensation in many parts of the body. The nerves transmit signals of heat, cold, pain, and general sensation, meaning that without their unimpeded operation, patients experience a variety of negative symptoms, from muscle weakness to paralysis. Our spinal nerves are also intertwined with our vertebrae (the bones in the spinal column). The spinal discs (the shock-absorbing pads between our vertebrae) help provide a means for the spine to articulate as well as keeping vertebrae from compressing nearby spinal nerves. Over time, however, the spinal discs naturally degenerate, becoming harder, thinner, and less pliable as we grow older. As spinal discs break down, the distance between our vertebrae shrinks, placing patients at an elevated risk for compressed spinal nerves and extreme back pain.
On most occasions, rest and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen will be enough to mediate back pain and restore mobility long enough for patients to pursue other avenues of treatment. Sometimes, though, structural problems in the back may lead to more serious complications. If back pain patients at any time experience muscle weakness or numbness in the extremities, seek medical attention immediately. This could be an indication of continually compressed spinal nerves. Over time, repeated compression can damage the nerves and lead to a loss of sensation and / or mobility.
If compression of spinal nerves is suspected to be the culprit and the physical examination is inconclusive, doctors will order imaging tests (x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging) in order to observe the problem area in greater detail. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scan) provides excellent clarity of the body’s soft tissues, allowing physicians to judge whether spinal nerves may be at risk during routine activity.
If spinal nerve compression forms the root of a patient’s back problem, there are several steps he or she can take from home that will increase their long-term mobility. First, consult your physician regarding a physical therapy or chiropractic regimen designed to build core strength along your spinal column and in the abdomen. Strong core muscles will help relieve pressure from spinal discs and reduce the possibility of compressed spinal nerves in the future. Also, consider your present weight and activity level: are you doing everything you can to minimize back pain? Unhealthy weight gain puts more pressure on every part of the spinal column, including spinal discs and facet joints (the joints that link our vertebrae. By keeping your weight down and getting regular exercise, patients can optimize their chances for maintaining mobility as they age.
The Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) in Houston TX cares for patients in Houston and the surrounding areas, including Sugarland, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston, Texas Medical Center (TMC), Tomball and other Texas TX cities including Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin
If you have SUFFERED AN INJURY, you can contact the Kraus Back and Neck Institute at
……. Or visit www.SpineHealth.com to schedule an appointment online
……. KBNI VIDEO
Keywords: spinal discs, spinal nerves, muscle weakness, back pain, Houston, Pearland, Sugarland, Woodlands, Katy, Conroe, Beaumont, Baytown