Nerve Root Pain-WatsonsHealth


Nerve root soreness comes from a nerve within the spine. Nerves bring messages about sensations and control of muscles and so problems with the nerves can cause pain, numbness, improved sensitivity or weakness of muscles. The ache is mainly felt in the area of the body which is supplied by that nerve. It is common for the leg nerves and arm nerves to be affected.

Lumbar nerve pain, also known as “sciatica” more commonly goes beneath the knee. Back discomfort is felt between the lower ribs and the buttocks. More commonly there will be a mixture of back and leg pains. In sciatica, the leg pain is worse than the back pain. Sciatica is more commonly caused by a disc prolapse or a “slipped disc”, but there are different factors.

Nerve pain in the arm is like sciatica but it is caused by the neck nerves. Generally the pain goes down the arm as far as a certain finger.

Radicular pain is a term doctors use to explain pain when it’s typically from a single nerve root.

Nerve pain may have the following signs and symptoms:

  • Sharp, burning or aching pain and discomfort that may occur in episodes or be consistently present
  • Numbness, tingling or “pins-and-needles” sensations that may be in one region or radiate to the arms and legs
  • Muscle weakness along the path of the compressed nerve
  • The feeling that the limbs or back are suffering electric shocks or “falling asleep”
  • A reduction in motor function which may become evident when doing everyday activities, like or writing or getting dressed
  • Decreased sensitivity in affected areas


Neck root pain is usually diagnosed based on signs and symptoms and on physical examination. Here are some ways of finding out:

  • Spinal movements produce limb pain for example in lumbar nerve root pain bending down to touch your toes cause the pain to go to the leg.
  • In brachial neuralgia moving the neck towards the painful side can increase the arm pain.
  • Nerve stretching tests result in pain to down the limb.
  • Simple tests of the function of the nerve by a health care professional for example. Sensory, power and reflex tests, will be helpful to identify which nerve is probably to be the one that is causing the pain.

Nerve root pain may also be very different, the amount of pain is not related to how big the disc is, and varies a lot. Distress and fear can ordinarily make discomfort worse. Quality information about facts on sciatica is essential to help understand how to handle it.



Usually sciatica will get better; the only condition that is regarded an emergency is when there is problems with bladder or bowel control or numbness between the legs.

Medications are used to ease pain and could enhance your quality of life at the same time while healing take place.

Some effective drugs include:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Pain relieving drugs
  • Nerve pain relieving drugs
  • Muscle relaxation drugs if spasm is present.

Physiotherapy and manual therapies may also be effective.

Majority of patients get better without surgery. Often the pain will settle with time.

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