When shooting pain radiates down your arm or leg, it’s a sure sign that you have a pinched spinal nerve. If your shooting pain fails to respond to conservative treatments, surgery may be the best way to find long-lasting relief. At Verma Spine, serving patients in Los Alamitos, Long Beach, and Orange County, California, Kushagra Verma, MD, MS, FAAOS, is a skilled spine surgeon who takes the time to fully explain your disease process and review all your treatment options, nonsurgical and surgical, so you can make the best decision for your health. To schedule an appointment, call the office or use the online booking feature.
Shooting pain is the classic symptom of a pinched spinal nerve, a condition called radiculopathy. The nerve is typically compressed at the area where it enters or leaves your spine. Once the nerve is inflamed or damaged, it causes pain that travels the length of the nerve.
The most common types of radiculopathy are arm and leg pain. Pinched nerves in your neck lead to pain radiating down your arm, while damaged nerves in your lower back result in pain shooting down your leg.
Sciatica is a well-known type of radiculopathy that occurs when the sciatic nerve is pinched at the base of your spine. As a result, you experience excruciating pain that shoots down one leg.
In addition to pain that radiates down your limbs, you’ll also have pain in your back or neck near the pinched nerve. Compressed nerves often cause the sensation of tingling along the nerve, but you can also develop numbness. In severe cases, you may have muscle weakness in the affected limb or lose control of your bladder or bowels.
An injury can result in radiculopathy, but it’s more likely to be caused by degenerative changes that develop as your age:
If you have osteoporosis, you may also have a compression fracture that pushes against the nerve and causes shooting pain.
Your treatment begins with nonsurgical therapies such as anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, and steroid injections. If your pain continues or worsens despite treatment, you may need surgery to repair the problem and finally get relief from the pain.
Dr. Verma may perform one of several types of surgery to decompress the nerve, repair a herniated disc, or remove bone spurs:
A laminectomy is a surgery to remove a small piece of bone, whether it’s from a vertebra or a bone spur. During a foraminotomy, Dr. Verma enlarges an opening, while he removes part of the disc during a discectomy.
If you have chronic shooting pain, call Verma Spine or schedule an appointment online to learn about treatment options.
Dr. Verma practices in the following areas: