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Nerve Disorders and Injuries

Nerve disorders and injuries are usually the result of soft tissue injury, structural injury and degenerative or congenital conditions. They cause issues with movement, coordination and balance.

WakeMed’s neurosurgeons and neurologists work in collaboration with other physicians, nurses, neuroradiologists and rehabilitation specialists to develop a personalized treatment plan for corrective approaches to these painful and, at times, debilitating conditions.

Symptoms of Nerve Disorders and Injuries

Nerve disorders often result in radiating back pain, along with these other symptoms:

  • Pain radiating down the buttocks, legs, knees and feet
  • Weakness, numbness and/or tingling in hands and feet

Types and Causes of Nerve Disorders and Injuries

Often, degenerative spinal conditions result from injury, degeneration or conditions present at birth.

  • Compressive neuropathy is when the nerves that leave the spinal canal get trapped, compressed and swollen. It can be temporary or long term as well as painful and incapacitating.
  • Peripheral neuropathy is when nerves outside the spinal column can no longer send or receive impulses or signals, resulting in impact or loss of feeling and/or movement.
  • Spinal Infections cause swelling and pain that may travel into another part of the body. A spinal infection may cause permanent tissue damage or set up in the neck (cervical spine), mid-back (thoracic spine) and lower-back (lumbar spine).
  • Spinal meningitis is an infection that causes swelling of the membranes in the brain and spinal cord. It is very serious and may have more symptoms than other nerve disorders, including fever, muscle spasms, sweating, weight loss and more.

Diagnosing Nerve Disorders and Injuries

Neurological exams and imaging tests, including X-ray, computed tomography (CT) scan, nerve conduction studies (NCS), electromyography (EMG) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), may be taken. These tests help us visualize the internal structures in the back, including nerves, spinal cord, bones and soft tissues. You may also be given contrast dye to help the spinal canal show up better in the pictures, so alert your doctor if you’re allergic to contrast dye.

Treating Nerve Disorders and Injuries

Many nerve disorders require intervention. Medications are typically recommended. In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary, but minimally invasive surgeries may be available.

Medications include pain medicines and oral or intravenous antibiotics.

Surgery may be the best option for patients with severe debilitation:

  • Have pain that limits their daily activities
  • Are unable to stand or walk normally
  • Experience persistent weakness and numbness
  • Cannot move your arm or leg
  • Loss of bowel and bladder function

Make an Appointment

We welcome new patients. If you’d like to meet with one of WakeMed’s neurological experts, please make an appointment by calling us at 919-350-7000.