Sciatica & Nerve Pain Relief in San Antonio, TX
“Why would I see a neurosurgeon if I have pain down my leg? Aren’t they brain surgeons?”
We’ve heard this many, many times. Unfortunately, pain can be unspecific, and it may fool you into thinking that discomfort in your elbow, knee or foot is due to muscular or skeletal problems local to those areas. This may be incorrect. Because all nerves begin in the brain, travel down the spinal cord and then split off to the rest of your body, the physical structure that’s causing pain in your elbow could actually be located in your spine.
Pinpointing the source of your pain requires years of experience, in-depth training and a thorough understanding of the nervous system.
Nerves rarely just start hurting all by themselves. There’s typically something irritating them — and multiple conditions can cause similar types of pain. Here are just a few of the common nerve conditions we can identify and treat:
Sciatica & Other Radiculopathies – Also Known as Radiating Pain
This condition refers to the pinching or irritation of nerves as they leave the spine, which causes pain, numbness or tingling to radiate into your arms or legs. Your pain’s destination gives us a clue as to where the damage is located. For example, nerve pressure in your neck can affect your shoulder, arm and hand, a condition known as cervical radiculopathy. You may be most familiar with the term sciatica, which is the common name for lumbar radiculopathy — the irritation of the sciatic nerve in the lower back, which causes shooting pains down the back of the leg, and sometimes all the way to the foot. Typically, radiculopathy is caused by a physical structure (such as a herniated disc) compressing a nerve.
Radiculopathy can be caused by a number of disc and vertebra conditions. Diagnosing and resolving the source of your pain will depend on the cause, and our neurosurgeons and pain management specialists are especially adept at discovering the underlying conditions for nerve pain. We’re ready to help, so there’s no reason to wait another minute to resolve your pain.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The median nerve is susceptible to compression as it passes through the space in your wrist called the carpal tunnel. This compression causes irritation, leading to pain, numbness and tingling in your thumb and fingers (besides the pinky). Often these symptoms arise at night, and you can find temporary relief by shaking your hand.
We have many tools for diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome. By listening to your symptoms, considering your regular activities and performing some physical tests, we can generally diagnose your condition. However, we may need to conduct a nerve test, which we can perform right in our office.
We can treat mild symptoms with conservative measures, such as icing and rest. But more serious cases of carpal tunnel may require a minimally invasive procedure. This procedure is extremely safe and effective at relieving carpal tunnel pain, and you’ll recover in just a few weeks. The rapid recovery from this procedure is especially beneficial if you use your hands for a living!
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome is a condition that results from the compression of the ulnar nerve in the elbow (commonly known as the “funny bone”). Common symptoms include pain and numbness in the elbow, weakness in the ring and pinky fingers, and decreased overall grip strength.
If you suspect you may suffer from this condition, here’s a test you can do yourself: simply try to pinch your thumb and pinky fingers together. If you struggle with this and have some or all of the other symptoms listed above, call one of our offices to schedule an appointment for evaluation.
We evaluate this condition by listening to your symptoms and performing some physical testing. But we also have electromyography (EMG) machines in our offices, which can measure the health of your muscles and nerve cells. If we determine that you’re suffering from cubital tunnel syndrome, you may respond well to conservative treatment. However, if you have persistent discomfort, we can perform multiple minimally invasive procedures to decompress or even relocate the ulnar nerve, which have an excellent record of relieving pain.
Nerve damage in areas outside of your central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) can have a wide variety of causes, including but not limited to:
- Inherited disorders
- Metabolic conditions
- Toxin exposure
Different types of nerves will present different symptoms, so it can take some investigative work to isolate your condition. But that’s part of what we’ve dedicated our lives and careers to doing, and it’s just one reason to choose Neurosurgery & Spine Consultants to help end your pain. First, we’ll go over your symptoms with you, which for peripheral neuropathy can include:
- Numbness, prickling or tingling in the hands and feet, which can spread upward through your limbs
- Sharp, jabbing, throbbing, freezing or burning pain
- Touch sensitivity and lack of coordination
- Muscle weakness
- Bowel, bladder or digestive problems
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
As a condition with many causes, diagnosing peripheral neuropathy may require many steps, which can include:
- Full medical history
- Neurological examination
- Blood tests
- EMG testing
- Nerve & skin biopsies
Treating peripheral neuropathy typically involves medication. If your peripheral neuropathy has some structural cause, such as a tumor, we can perform surgery to relieve the pressure.
To schedule an appointment or learn more about how Neurosurgery & Spine Consultants specializes in nerve conditions in the San Antonio communities of Medical Center, Stone Oak, Westover Hills and Southwest, call 210-255-8935 today. You can also request an appointment using the form on this page.