Pinched Nerve or Degenerated Disc

Pinched nerve or degenerated disc? When back pain is a result of spinal disc problems, the source is by a nerve or the disc itself. Differentiating between them can be confusing. Doctors can use a variety of terms to describe your problem. Those terms can be slipped disc, pinched nerve, protruding disc, or degenerated disc.

Pinched Nerve Pain

When your spinal disc causes mechanical compression, inflammation, or irritation it might not be the disc. When it’s near your nerve root, it is nerve pain due to an intrusion by the disc. Pain from a pinched nerve in your lower back can radiate from the path into your foot and leg. Numbness, weakness, tingling, pins-and-needles are neurological problems that can occur.

The type of pain is called radiculopathy. When this occurs due to compression or irritation of nerve roots in the lower back. Then it is commonly referred to as sciatica.

Degenerated Disc Pain

If your back pain comes from the intervertebral disc, then its discogenic back pain. Spinal disc degeneration is due to trauma or wear and tear. They can cause pain through the following mechanisms:

  • Inflammation: As your disc degenerates, they can release inflammatory proteins. Which can also herniate, causing inflammatory contents to leak. These agents can inflame or irritate nearby nerves causing pain.
  • Shrinkage: Dehydration within the disc can be the cause of degeneration. This can result in shrinkage and loss of fluid content. The amount of shrinkage can make the spinal canal narrows, which can lead to radiculopathy.
  • Motion Segment Instability: The spinal segment can become unstable and be less effective. This is a possibility due to disc degeneration.

When your body attempts to counteract instability, inflammation, and pain, the muscle may spasm. This can cause sharp, shooting pain, and can make back pain worse. Pain coming from a degenerated disc may localize or radiate to your leg.

Focus On The Cause of The Pain

Focus on the underlying cause of your pain and not just the symptom. This will give you the best chance of finding a treatment plan for long term relief. Our doctors can conduct a test to confirm your cause of pain. Then work with you to create a pain management plan.

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