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Nerve Injury

Back Clinic Nerve Injury Team. Nerves are fragile and can be damaged by pressure, stretching, or cutting. Injury to a nerve can stop signals to and from the brain, causing muscles not to work properly and losing feeling in the injured area. The nervous system manages a great majority of the body’s functions, from regulating an individual’s breathing to controlling their muscles as well as sensing heat and cold. But, when trauma from an injury or an underlying condition causes nerve injury, an individual’s quality of life may be greatly affected. Dr. Alex Jimenez explains various concepts through his collection of archives revolving around the types of injuries and condition which can cause nerve complications as well as discuss the different form of treatments and solutions to ease nerve pain and restore the individual’s quality of life.

General Disclaimer *

The information herein is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional. Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*


Licensed in: Texas & New Mexico*


Meralgia Paresthetica: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Meralgia Paresthetica: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Individuals experiencing pain, numbness, tingling, or a burning sensation in the front and outer thigh could have meralgia paresthetica, a nerve entrapment. Can understanding the condition help healthcare providers develop an effective treatment plan?

Meralgia Paresthetica: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Meralgia Paresthetica

Meralgia paresthetica, or MP, is also known as Bernhardt-Roth syndrome, lateral femoral cutaneous nerve syndrome, or lateral femoral cutaneous neuralgia. It occurs when the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, a sensory nerve that passes over the brim of the pelvis and down the front of the thigh, becomes compressed. The nerve supplies information about sensations over the front and outside of the thigh. This can happen for several reasons, including:

  • Recent hip injuries, such as from a motor vehicle collision/accident.
  • Repetitive hip activities, like cycling.
  • Pregnancy
  • Weight gain
  • Wearing tight clothing.

The nerve entrapment condition causes tingling, numbness, and burning pain in the front and/or outer thigh.


There can be several different causes of this condition, but it is frequently seen in pregnancy, sudden weight gain, wearing tight clothing or belts, and other conditions. (Ivins G. K. 2000) Sometimes, meralgia paresthetica can be caused by medical procedures. For example, the condition can present after an individual has surgery and is in an unusual position for a long period of time, where there is direct external pressure on the nerve. Also, the nerve can become damaged during a surgical procedure. (Cheatham S. W. et al., 2013) This can occur when a bone graft is obtained from the pelvis or anterior hip replacement surgery.


Individuals may experience some or all of the following symptoms (Chung K. H. et al., 2010)

  • Numbness over the outside of the thigh.
  • Pain or burning on the outside of the thigh.
  • Sensitivity to lightly touching the outside of the thigh.
  • Worsening of symptoms with certain positions.
  • Increased symptoms when wearing belts, work belts, or tight-waist clothes.

The symptoms may come and go or be persistent. Some individuals are hardly noticeable and do not impact their lives or activities, while others can be very bothersome and cause significant pain. (Scholz C. et al., 2023)


Treatment depends on how long the injury has been present and the frequency and severity of the condition.

Clothing Modifications

If the cause is due to tight clothing, belts, or work belts, then garment modification should alleviate symptoms.


Pregnant women usually find complete relief of their symptoms after delivery. (Hosley, C. M., and McCullough, L. D. 2011)

Weight Loss Program

If recent weight gain is thought to contribute to the condition, then a weight loss program may be recommended.

Cortisone Injections

If simple steps do not relieve symptoms, a cortisone injection around the nerve area may be recommended. The goal is to reduce inflammation that contributes to nerve pressure (Houle S. 2012) . Cortisone injections may be a definitive treatment or a temporary treatment.


Chiropractic care can be an effective, natural, and safe treatment. Adjustments can help relieve pressure on the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (LFCN) by realigning the spine and restoring nerve function. Chiropractors may also use soft tissue therapies, such as massage, to relieve muscle tension and support the body’s healing process. Other chiropractic techniques that may be used include:

  • Pelvic mobilizations
  • Myofascial therapy
  • Transverse friction massage
  • Stretching exercises
  • Stabilization exercises for the core and pelvis
  • Therapeutic kinesiology tape

A chiropractic treatment program may include 10–15 treatments over 6–8 weeks, but the number of treatments needed will vary from person to person. If there’s no noticeable progress after 3–4 weeks, it may be time to consult a specialist or surgeon.


Surgery is rarely necessary. However, a surgical procedure may be considered when all conservative treatments fail to provide relief. (Schwaiger K. et al., 2018) A surgeon dissects and identifies the nerve, looks for compression locations, and tries to free the nerve from any areas where it may be pinched. Alternatively, some surgeons transect/cut the nerve so it no longer causes problems. If the transection procedure is performed, there will be a permanent area of numbness over the front of the thigh.

Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Clinic works with primary healthcare providers and specialists to develop a customized treatment plan to relieve pain, treat injuries, improve flexibility, mobility, and agility, and help individuals return to optimal function. If other treatments are needed, Dr. Jimenez has teamed up with top surgeons, clinical specialists, medical researchers, and rehabilitation providers to provide the most effective treatments.

Chiropractic Care for Leg Instability


Ivins G. K. (2000). Meralgia paresthetica, the elusive diagnosis: clinical experience with 14 adult patients. Annals of surgery, 232(2), 281–286.

Cheatham, S. W., Kolber, M. J., & Salamh, P. A. (2013). Meralgia paresthetica: a review of the literature. International journal of sports physical therapy, 8(6), 883–893.

Chung, K. H., Lee, J. Y., Ko, T. K., Park, C. H., Chun, D. H., Yang, H. J., Gill, H. J., & Kim, M. K. (2010). Meralgia paresthetica affecting parturient women who underwent cesarean section -A case report-. Korean journal of anesthesiology, 59 Suppl(Suppl), S86–S89.

Scholz, C., Hohenhaus, M., Pedro, M. T., Uerschels, A. K., & Dengler, N. F. (2023). Meralgia Paresthetica: Relevance, Diagnosis, and Treatment. Deutsches Arzteblatt international, 120(39), 655–661.

Hosley, C. M., & McCullough, L. D. (2011). Acute neurological issues in pregnancy and the peripartum. The Neurohospitalist, 1(2), 104–116.

Houle S. (2012). Chiropractic management of chronic idiopathic meralgia paresthetica: a case study. Journal of chiropractic medicine, 11(1), 36–41.

Schwaiger, K., Panzenbeck, P., Purschke, M., Russe, E., Kaplan, R., Heinrich, K., Mandal, P., & Wechselberger, G. (2018). Surgical decompression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (LFCN) for Meralgia paresthetica treatment: Experimental or state of the art? A single-center outcome analysis. Medicine, 97(33), e11914.

Exploring the Funny Bone: Nerve Injuries and Treatment

Exploring the Funny Bone: Nerve Injuries and Treatment

Can understanding the location of the funny bone and how pain can be managed after injury help expedite recovery and prevention for individuals who have hit their funny bone?

Exploring the Funny Bone: Nerve Injuries and Treatment

Elbow Funny Bone Nerve Injury

Behind the elbow is an area known as the “funny bone,” where the ulnar nerve has less tissue and bone protection. This is where part of the ulnar nerve passes around the back of the elbow. Because less tissue and bone protect the nerve in this area, taking a hit like bumping into something can cause an electric shock-like pain and a tingling sensation down the arm and to the outside fingers typical of an irritated nerve. Most injuries to the funny bone resolve quickly, and the pain disappears after a few seconds or minutes, but sometimes, an ulnar nerve injury can lead to more persistent symptoms.


The funny bone is not a bone but the ulnar nerve. The nerve runs down the arm, passing around the back of the elbow. (Dimitrova, A. et al., 2019) Because the ulnar nerve is on top of the elbow and there is very little fatty cushion, lightly bumping this spot can cause pain and tingling sensations down the forearm. Three bones comprise the junction of the elbow that include:

  • Humerus – arm bone
  • Ulna and radius – forearm bones

The humerus has a groove that protects and holds the ulnar nerve as it passes behind the joint. This is where the nerve can be injured or irritated when the nerve is hit or pinched against the end of the bone, causing the funny bone pain.

Electrical Pain Sensation

When hitting the ulnar nerve or funny bone where the ulnar nerve provides sensation, pain, and electrical/tingling sensations are experienced from the forearm to the outside fingers. This part of the arm and hand is called the ulnar nerve distribution. (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. 2024) The ulnar nerve provides sensation into most of the pinky finger and about half of the ring finger. Other nerves, including the median and radial nerve, supply sensation to the rest of the hand.


Usually, a sharp jolt to the elbow quickly resolves. Some recommendations to help symptoms improve faster include:

  • Shaking the forearm and hand out.
  • Straightening out and bending the elbow to stretch the nerve.
  • Decreasing mobility of the elbow.
  • Applying ice to the area.
  • Taking anti-inflammatory medications.

Treating Long-Lasting Pain

In rare circumstances, injuries to the ulnar nerve can cause more persistent symptoms, a condition known as cubital tunnel syndrome. Cubital tunnel syndrome can happen after an injury or from elbow overuse. Individuals with cubital tunnel syndrome may benefit from wearing a splint at night. Standard-sized splints can be ordered online, but most are fabricated by an occupational or hand therapist. If symptoms become more long-lasting, surgery may be recommended to relieve pressure and tension on the ulnar nerve (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 2024). The procedure decompresses the nerve by relieving any tight constrictions around it and releasing them. In severe cases, the nerve is repositioned to an area that doesn’t place as much pressure on the nerve, known as an ulnar nerve transposition.

Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Clinic works with primary healthcare providers and specialists to develop an optimal health and wellness solution that helps individuals return to normal. Our providers create personalized care plans for each patient, including Functional Medicine, Acupuncture, Electro-Acupuncture, and Sports Medicine principles through an integrated approach to treat injuries and chronic pain syndromes to improve ability through flexibility, mobility, and agility programs to relieve pain. If other treatment is needed, Dr. Jimenez has teamed up with top surgeons, clinical specialists, medical researchers, and rehabilitation providers to provide the most effective treatments.

Chiropractic Treatment For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome


Dimitrova, A., Murchison, C., & Oken, B. (2019). Local effects of acupuncture on the median and ulnar nerves in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome: a pilot mechanistic study protocol. Trials, 20(1), 8.

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. (2024). Ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow.–conditions/ulnar-nerve-entrapment-at-the-elbow-cubital-tunnel-syndrome/

Neuropathic Gait: An Analysis of Walking Abnormalities

Neuropathic Gait: An Analysis of Walking Abnormalities

Can physical therapies help treat a high steppage gait from injury or medical conditions and restore normal gait patterns for individuals who have or are developing one?

Neuropathic Gait: An Analysis of Walking Abnormalities

Walking or gait anthropometric analysis on a treadmill

Neuropathic Gait

Neuropathic gait, aka equine or high steppage gait, is a type of walking abnormality that causes individuals to raise their hips to lift their legs higher than normal. It occurs when individuals have a foot drop or ankle equinus due to loss of dorsiflexion. As a result, the foot hangs with the toes pointing down, causing the toes to drag while walking. The foot may appear floppy when it drops. Foot drop is caused by weakness or paralysis of the anterior tibialis muscle in front of the shin bone. The anterior tibialis muscle contracts to help flex the foot and ankle while walking, ensuring the foot clears the floor and doesn’t drag. Individuals with anterior tibialis weakness or paralysis may have a neuropathic gait and excessively bend the hip and knee while stepping forward, lifting their leg high off the floor to clear the foot to avoid tripping. A physical therapy team can help with a high steppage gait pattern after illness or injury.


Conditions that can cause anterior tibialis weakness or paralysis and a high steppage gait pattern include:


Peroneal Nerve Injury

Multiple Sclerosis


A primary healthcare provider may refer a physical therapy team to help correct the neuropathic gait pattern.


Treatment can involve various therapies that focus on the anterior tibialis muscle.

  • Targeted ankle exercises can help strengthen the muscle.
  • Calf stretches can help maintain the ankle’s range of motion.
  • Gait training exercises.
  • Balance exercises will help improve overall proprioception, or the sense of the body’s position and movement.
  • Neuromuscular electrical stimulation, or NMES, can help improve the function of the muscle. (Hollis, S., McClure, P. 2017)
  • The electrical stimulation artificially contracts the muscle to restore proper function.
  • For anterior tibialis weakness caused by sciatica, back decompression exercises may be prescribed to relieve pressure off the sciatic nerve.
  • The exercises release the nerve to restore normal signal transmission up and down the nerve in the lower back.
  • Neuromuscular electrical stimulation may also be used to help improve muscle function.

Assistive Walking Devices

A therapist may suggest using an assistive device to help the patient walk properly. This could include a wheeled walker or a quad cane. A temporary solution to anterior tibialis weakness is to elevate the foot while walking with an elastic band. Tie a band around the leg below the knee and secure it around the ball of the foot. When swinging the leg forward, the band pulls the foot up. Using it as a temporary solution may help maintain safe mobility. Sometimes, paralysis of the anterior tibialis muscle can become permanent. In this case, individuals may benefit from a special brace called an ankle-foot orthosis. The brace helps to lift the foot and toes off the ground.

For individuals concerned about losing their balance and falling, there are ways to improve walking patterns to stay safe. A healthcare provider may recommend physical therapy to correct gait, strengthen the anterior tibialis muscle, improve balance, and educate on injury prevention. Individuals should discuss symptoms and conditions with a primary physician, healthcare provider, or specialist to guide them in the right direction and determine the best treatment.

Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Clinic uses an integrated approach personalized to the individual that focuses on what works for them and treats injuries and chronic pain syndromes through personalized care plans that improve ability through flexibility, mobility, and agility programs to relieve pain. If other treatment is needed, Dr. Jimenez has teamed up with top surgeons, clinical specialists, medical researchers, and rehabilitation providers to provide the most effective treatments.

Control Foot Motion and Posture


McCabe, F. J., & McCabe, J. P. (2016). An Unusual Presentation of Right-Sided Sciatica with Foot Drop. Case reports in orthopedics, 2016, 9024368.

Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2024). Peroneal nerve injury.

Kaykisiz, E. K., & Unluer, E. E. (2017). An Unexpected Reason for Isolated Foot Drop: Acute Stroke. Pakistan journal of medical sciences, 33(5), 1288–1290.

Taylor, P. N., Wilkinson Hart, I. A., Khan, M. S., & Slade-Sharman, D. E. (2016). Correction of Footdrop Due to Multiple Sclerosis Using the STIMuSTEP Implanted Dropped Foot Stimulator. International journal of MS care, 18(5), 239–247.

Hollis, S., & McClure, P. (2017). Intramuscular Electrical Stimulation for Muscle Activation of the Tibialis Anterior After Surgical Repair: A Case Report. The Journal of orthopaedic and sports physical therapy, 47(12), 965–969.

Demystifying Spinal Nerve Roots and Their Impact on Health

Demystifying Spinal Nerve Roots and Their Impact on Health

When sciatica or other radiating nerve pain presents, can learning to distinguish between nerve pain and different types of pain help individuals recognize when spinal nerve roots are irritated or compressed or more serious problems that require medical attention?

Demystifying Spinal Nerve Roots and Their Impact on Health

Spinal Nerve Roots and Dermatomes

Spinal conditions such as herniated discs and stenosis can lead to radiating pain that travels down one arm or leg. Other symptoms include weakness, numbness, and/or shooting or burning electrical sensations. The medical term for pinched nerve symptoms is radiculopathy (National Institutes of Health: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. 2020). Dermatomes could contribute to irritation in the spinal cord, where the nerve roots cause symptoms in the back and limbs.


The spinal cord has 31 segments.

  • Each segment has nerve roots on the right and left that supply motor and sensory functions to the limbs.
  • The anterior and posterior communicating branches combine to form the spinal nerves that exit the vertebral canal.
  • The 31 spine segments result in 31 spinal nerves.
  • Each one transmits sensory nerve input from a specific skin region on that side and area of the body.
  • These regions are called dermatomes.
  • Except for the first cervical spinal nerve, dermatomes exist for each spinal nerve.
  • The spinal nerves and their associated dermatomes form a network all over the body.

Dermatomes Purpose

Dermatomes are the body/skin areas with sensory input assigned to individual spinal nerves. Each nerve root has an associated dermatome, and various branches supply each dermatome off that single nerve root. Dermatomes are pathways through which sensational information in the skin transmits signals to and from the central nervous system. Sensations that are physically felt, like pressure and temperature, get transmitted to the central nervous system. When a spinal nerve root becomes compressed or irritated, usually because it comes into contact with another structure, it results in radiculopathy. (National Institutes of Health: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. 2020).


Radiculopathy describes symptoms caused by a pinched nerve along the spine. Symptoms and sensations depend on where the nerve is pinched and the extent of the compression.


  • This is a syndrome of pain and/or sensorimotor deficiencies when nerve roots in the neck are compressed.
  • It often presents with pain that goes down one arm.
  • Individuals may also experience electrical sensations like pins and needles, shocks, and burning sensations, as well as motor symptoms like weakness and numbness.


  • This radiculopathy results from compression, inflammation, or injury to a spinal nerve in the lower back.
  • Sensations of pain, numbness, tingling, electrical or burning sensations, and motor symptoms like weakness traveling down one leg are common.


Part of a radiculopathy physical examination is testing the dermatomes for sensation. The practitioner will use specific manual tests to determine the spinal level from which the symptoms originate. Manual exams are often accompanied by diagnostic imaging tests like MRI, which can show abnormalities in the spinal nerve root. A complete physical examination will determine if the spinal nerve root is the source of the symptoms.

Treating Underlying Causes

Many back disorders can be treated with conservative therapies to provide effective pain relief. For a herniated disk, for example, individuals may be recommended to rest and take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication. Acupuncture, physical therapy, chiropractic, non-surgical traction, or decompression therapies may also be prescribed. For severe pain, individuals may be offered an epidural steroid injection that can provide pain relief by reducing inflammation. (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: OrthoInfo. 2022) For spinal stenosis, a provider may first focus on physical therapy to improve overall fitness, strengthen the abdominals and back muscles, and preserve motion in the spine. Pain-relieving medications, including NSAIDs and corticosteroid injections, can reduce inflammation and relieve pain. (American College of Rheumatology. 2023) Physical therapists provide various therapies to decrease symptoms, including manual and mechanical decompression and traction. Surgery may be recommended for cases of radiculopathy that don’t respond to conservative treatments.

Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Clinic care plans and clinical services are specialized and focused on injuries and the complete recovery process. Our areas of practice include Wellness & Nutrition, Chronic Pain, Personal Injury, Auto Accident Care, Work Injuries, Back Injury, Low Back Pain, Neck Pain, Migraine Headaches, Sports Injuries, Severe Sciatica, Scoliosis, Complex Herniated Discs, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, Complex Injuries, Stress Management, Functional Medicine Treatments, and in-scope care protocols. We focus on restoring normal body functions after trauma and soft tissue injuries using Specialized Chiropractic Protocols, Wellness Programs, Functional and integrative Nutrition, Agility, and mobility Fitness Training, and Rehabilitation Systems for all ages. If the individual requires other treatment, they will be referred to a clinic or physician best suited for their condition. Dr. Jimenez has teamed with the top surgeons, clinical specialists, medical researchers, therapists, trainers, and premiere rehabilitation providers to bring El Paso, the top clinical treatments, to our community.

Reclaim Your Mobility: Chiropractic Care For Sciatica Recovery


National Institutes of Health: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (2020). Low back pain fact sheet. Retrieved from

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: OrthoInfo. (2022). Herniated disk in the lower back.–conditions/herniated-disk-in-the-lower-back/

American College of Rheumatology. (2023). Spinal stenosis.

Relief from Neurogenic Claudication: Treatment Options

Relief from Neurogenic Claudication: Treatment Options

Individuals experiencing shooting, aching pain in the lower extremities, and intermittent leg pain could be suffering from neurogenic claudication. Can knowing the symptoms help healthcare providers develop an effective treatment plan?

Relief from Neurogenic Claudication: Treatment Options

Neurogenic Claudication

Neurogenic claudication occurs when spinal nerves become compressed in the lumbar or lower spine, causing intermittent leg pain. Compressed nerves in the lumbar spine can cause leg pain and cramps. The pain usually worsens with specific movements or activities like sitting, standing, or bending backward.  It is also known as pseudo-claudication when the space within the lumbar spine narrows. A condition known as lumbar spinal stenosis. However, neurogenic claudication is a syndrome or group of symptoms caused by a pinched spinal nerve, while spinal stenosis describes the narrowing of the spinal passages.


Neurogenic claudication symptoms can include:

  • Leg cramping.
  • Numbness, tingling, or burning sensations.
  • Leg fatigue and weakness.
  • A sensation of heaviness in the leg/s.
  • Sharp, shooting, or aching pain extending into the lower extremities, often in both legs.
  • There may also be pain in the lower back or buttocks.

Neurogenic claudication is different from other types of leg pain, as the pain alternates – ceasing and beginning randomly and worsens with specific movements or activities. Standing, walking, descending stairs, or flexing backward can trigger pain, while sitting, climbing stairs, or leaning forward tends to relieve pain. However, every case is different. Over time, neurogenic claudication can affect mobility as individuals try to avoid activities that cause pain, including exercise, lifting objects, and prolonged walking. In severe cases, neurogenic claudication can make sleeping difficult.

Neurogenic claudication and sciatica are not the same. Neurogenic claudication involves nerve compression in the central canal of the lumbar spine, causing pain in both legs. Sciatica involves compression of nerve roots exiting from the sides of the lumbar spine, causing pain in one leg. (Carlo Ammendolia, 2014)


With neurogenic claudication, compressed spinal nerves are the underlying cause of the leg pain. In many cases, lumber spinal stenosis – LSS is the cause of pinched nerve. There are two types of lumbar spinal stenosis.

  • Central stenosis is the main cause of neurogenic claudication. With this type, the central canal of the lumbar spine, which houses the spinal cord, narrows, causing pain in both legs.
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis can be acquired and develop later in life due to spine deterioration.
  • Congenital means the individual is born with the condition.
  • Both can lead to neurogenic claudication in different ways.
  • Foramen stenosis is another type of lumbar spinal stenosis that causes the narrowing of spaces on either side of the lumbar spine where nerve roots branch off the spinal cord. The associated pain is different in that it is either in the right or left leg.
  • The pain corresponds to the side of the spinal cord where the nerves are being pinched.

Acquired Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Lumbar spinal stenosis is usually acquired due to the degeneration of the lumbar spine and tends to affect older adults. The causes of the narrowing can include:

  • Spinal trauma, such as from a vehicle collision, work, or sports injury.
  • Disc herniation.
  • Spinal osteoporosis – wear-and-tear arthritis.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis – a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects the spine.
  • Osteophytes – bone spurs.
  • Spinal tumors – non-cancerous and cancerous tumors.

Congenital Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Congenital lumbar spinal stenosis means an individual is born with abnormalities of the spine that may not be apparent at birth. Because the space within the spinal canal is already narrow, the spinal cord is vulnerable to any changes as the individual ages. Even individuals with mild arthritis can experience symptoms of neurogenic claudication early on and develop symptoms in their 30s and 40s instead of their 60s and 70s.


Diagnosis of neurogenic claudication is largely based on the individual’s medical history, physical examination, and imaging. The physical examination and review identify where the pain is presenting and when. The healthcare provider may ask:

  • Is there a history of lower back pain?
  • Is the pain in one leg or both?
  • Is the pain constant?
  • Does the pain come and go?
  • Does the pain get better or worse when standing or sitting?
  • Do movements or activities cause pain symptoms and sensations?
  • Are there any usual sensations while walking?


Treatments can consist of physical therapy, spinal steroid injections, and pain meds. Surgery is a last resort when all other therapies are unable to provide effective relief.

Physical Therapy

A treatment plan will involve physical therapy that includes:

  • Daily stretching
  • Strengthening
  • Aerobic exercises
  • This will help improve and stabilize the lower back muscles and correct posture problems.
  • Occupational therapy will recommend activity modifications that cause pain symptoms.
  • This includes proper body mechanics, energy conservation, and recognizing pain signals.
  • Back braces or belts may also be recommended.

Spinal Steroid Injections

Healthcare providers may recommend epidural steroid injections.

  • This delivers a cortisone steroid to the outermost section of the spinal column or the epidural space.
  • Injections can provide pain relief for three months to three years. (Sunil Munakomi et al., 2024)

Pain Meds

Pain medications are used to treat intermittent neurogenic claudication. These include:

  • Over-the-counter analgesics like acetaminophen.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs like ibuprofen or naproxen.
  • Prescription NSAIDs may be prescribed if needed.
  • NSAIDs are used with chronic neurogenic pain and should only be used when required.
  • The long-term use of NSAIDs can increase the risk of stomach ulcers, and the overuse of acetaminophen can lead to liver toxicity and liver failure.


If conservative treatments are unable to provide effective relief and mobility and/or quality of life are affected, surgery known as a laminectomy may be recommended to decompress the lumbar spine. The procedure may be performed:

  • Laparoscopically – with small incisions, scopes, and surgical instrumentation.
  • Open surgery – with a scalpel and sutures.
  • During the procedure, facets of the vertebra are partially or completely removed.
  • To provide stability, the bones are sometimes fused with screws, plates, or rods.
  • Success rates for both are more or less the same.
  • Between 85% and 90% of individuals undergoing the surgery achieve long-lasting and/or permanent pain relief. (Xin-Long Ma et al., 2017)

Movement Medicine: Chiropractic Care


Ammendolia C. (2014). Degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis and its imposters: three case studies. The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, 58(3), 312–319.

Munakomi S, Foris LA, Varacallo M. (2024). Spinal Stenosis and Neurogenic Claudication. [Updated 2023 Aug 13]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from:

Ma, X. L., Zhao, X. W., Ma, J. X., Li, F., Wang, Y., & Lu, B. (2017). Effectiveness of surgery versus conservative treatment for lumbar spinal stenosis: A system review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. International journal of surgery (London, England), 44, 329–338.

Understanding Nerve Blocks: Diagnosing and Managing Injury Pain

Understanding Nerve Blocks: Diagnosing and Managing Injury Pain

For individuals dealing with chronic pain, can undergoing a nerve block procedure help alleviate and manage symptoms?

Understanding Nerve Blocks: Diagnosing and Managing Injury Pain

Nerve Blocks

A nerve block is a procedure done to interrupt/block pain signals due to nerve dysfunction or injury. They can be used for diagnostic or treatment purposes, and their effects can be short or long-term, depending on the type being used.

  • A temporary nerve block may involve the application or injection that stops pain signals from transmitting for a short time.
  • For example, in pregnancy, an epidural injection can be used during labor and delivery.
  • Permanent nerve blocks involve cutting/severing or removing certain parts of a nerve to stop pain signals.
  • These are used in cases with severe injuries or other chronic pain conditions that have not improved with other treatment approaches.

Treatment Usage

When healthcare providers diagnose a chronic pain condition caused by nerve injury or dysfunction, they may use a nerve block to locate the area generating pain signals. They may perform electromyography and/or a nerve conduction velocity/NCV test to pinpoint the cause of chronic nerve pain. Nerve blocks can also treat chronic neuropathic pain, such as pain caused by nerve damage or compression. Nerve blocks are regularly used to treat back and neck pain caused by herniated discs or spinal stenosis. (Johns Hopkins Medicine. 2024)


Three types include:

  • Local
  • Neurolytic
  • Surgical

All three can be used for conditions that cause chronic pain. However, neurolytic and surgical blocks are permanent and are only used for severe pain that has worsened with other treatments unable to provide relief.

Temporary Blocks

  • A local block is done by injecting or applying local anesthetics, like lidocaine, to a certain area.
  • An epidural is a local nerve block that injects steroids or analgesics into an area around the spinal cord.
  • These are common during pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
  • Epidurals can also be used to treat chronic neck or back pain due to a compressed spinal nerve.
  • Local blocks are usually temporary, but in a treatment plan, they can be repeated over time to manage chronic pain from conditions like arthritis, sciatica, and migraines. (NYU Langone Health. 2023)

Permanent Blocks

  • A neurolytic block uses alcohol, phenol, or thermal agents to treat chronic nerve pain. (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. 2023) These procedures damage certain areas of the nerve pathway on purpose so that pain signals cannot be transmitted. A neurolytic block is mainly used for severe chronic pain cases, like pain from cancer or complex regional pain syndrome/CRPS. They are sometimes used to treat ongoing pain from chronic pancreatitis and pain in the chest wall after surgery. (Johns Hopkins Medicine. 2024) (Alberto M. Cappellari et al., 2018)
  • The neurosurgeon performs a surgical nerve block that involves surgically removing or damaging specific areas of the nerve. (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. 2023) A surgical nerve block is only used for severe pain cases, such as cancer pain or trigeminal neuralgia.
  • Although neurolytic and surgical nerve blocks are permanent procedures, pain symptoms, and sensations can come back if the nerves are able to regrow and repair themselves. (Eun Ji Choi et al., 2016) However, symptoms and sensations may not return months or years after the procedure.

Different Body Areas

They can be administered in most body areas, including: (Hospital for Special Surgery. 2023) (Stanford Medicine. 2024)

  • Scalp
  • Face
  • Neck
  • Collarbone
  • Shoulders
  • Arms
  • Back
  • Chest
  • Ribcage
  • Abdomen
  • Pelvis
  • Buttocks
  • Legs
  • Ankle
  • Feet

Side Effects

These procedures can have the potential risk of permanent nerve damage. (Anthem BlueCross. 2023) Nerves are sensitive and regenerate slowly, so a tiny error can cause side effects. (D O’Flaherty et al., 2018) Common side effects include:

  • Muscle paralysis
  • Weakness
  • Frequent numbness
  • In rare cases, the block could irritate the nerve and cause added pain.
  • Skilled and licensed health practitioners like surgeons, pain management physicians, anesthesiologists, and dentists are trained to perform these procedures carefully.
  • There is always a risk of nerve damage or injury, but the majority of nerve blocks safely and successfully decrease and help manage chronic pain. (Anthem BlueCross. 2023)

What to Expect

  • Individuals may feel numbness or soreness and/or notice redness or irritation near or around the area that is temporary.
  • There can also be swelling, which compresses the nerve and requires time to improve. (Stanford Medicine. 2024)
  • Individuals may be asked to rest for a certain amount of time after the procedure.
  • Depending on the type of procedure, individuals may have to spend a few days in a hospital.
  • Some pain may still be present, but that does not mean the procedure did not work.

Individuals should consult with a healthcare provider about the risks and benefits to ensure it is the right treatment.

Sciatica, Causes, Symptoms, and Tips


Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2024). Nerve blocks. (Health, Issue.

NYU Langone Health. (2023). Nerve block for migraine (Education and Research, Issue.

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (2023). Pain. Retrieved from

Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2024). Chronic pancreatitis treatment (Health, Issue.

Cappellari, A. M., Tiberio, F., Alicandro, G., Spagnoli, D., & Grimoldi, N. (2018). Intercostal Neurolysis for The Treatment of Postsurgical Thoracic Pain: a Case Series. Muscle & nerve, 58(5), 671–675.

Choi, E. J., Choi, Y. M., Jang, E. J., Kim, J. Y., Kim, T. K., & Kim, K. H. (2016). Neural Ablation and Regeneration in Pain Practice. The Korean journal of pain, 29(1), 3–11.

Hospital for Special Surgery. (2023). Regional anesthesia.

Stanford Medicine. (2024). Types of nerve blocks (For Patients, Issue.

Anthem BlueCross. (2023). Peripheral nerve blocks for treatment of neuropathic pain. (Medical Policy, Issue.

O’Flaherty, D., McCartney, C. J. L., & Ng, S. C. (2018). Nerve injury after peripheral nerve blockade-current understanding and guidelines. BJA education, 18(12), 384–390.

Stanford Medicine. (2024). Common patient questions about nerve blocks. (For Patients, Issue.

A Comprehensive Look at the Thoracodorsal Nerve

A Comprehensive Look at the Thoracodorsal Nerve

Individuals experiencing pain symptoms like shooting, stabbing, or electrical sensations to the latissimus dorsi of the upper back could be caused by a nerve injury to the thoracodorsal nerve. Can knowing the anatomy and symptoms help healthcare providers develop an effective treatment plan?

A Comprehensive Look at the Thoracodorsal Nerve

Thoracodorsal Nerve

Also known as the middle subscapular nerve or the long subscapular nerve, it branches out from a part of the brachial plexus and provides motor innervation/function to the latissimus dorsi muscle.


The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that stem from the spinal cord in the neck. The nerves supply most of the sensation and movement of the arms and hands, with one on each side. Its five roots come from the spaces between the fifth through eighth cervical vertebrae and the first thoracic vertebra. From there, they form a larger structure, then divide, re-combine, and divide again to form smaller nerves and nerve structures as they travel down the armpit. Through the neck and chest, the nerves eventually join and form three cords that include:

  • Lateral cord
  • Medial cord
  • Posterior cord

The posterior cord produces major and minor branches that include:

  • Axillary nerve
  • Radial nerve

The minor branches include:

  • Superior subscapular nerve
  • Inferior subscapular nerve
  • Thoracodorsal nerve

Structure and Position

  • The thoracodorsal nerve branches off the posterior cord in the armpit and travels down, following the subscapular artery, to the latissimus dorsi muscle.
  • It connects to the upper arm, stretches across the back of the armpit, forming the axillary arch, and then expands into a large triangle that wraps around the ribs and the back.
  • The thoracodorsal nerve lies deep in the latissimus dorsi, and the lower edge typically reaches close to the waist.


  • There is a standard location and course of the thoracodorsal nerve, but individual nerves are not the same in everyone.
  • The nerve typically branches off the posterior cord of the brachial plexus from three different points.
  •  However, different subtypes have been identified.
  • The thoracodorsal nerve supplies the teres major muscle in about 13% of individuals. (Brianna Chu, Bruno Bordoni. 2023)
  • The lats can have a rare anatomical variation known as a Langer’s arch, which is an extra part that connects to muscles or connective tissue of the upper arm beneath the common connecting point.
  • In individuals with this abnormality, the thoracodorsal nerve supplies function/innervation) to the arch. (Ahmed M. Al Maksoud et al., 2015)


The latissimus dorsi muscle cannot function without the thoracodorsal nerve. The muscle and nerve help:

  • Stabilize the back.
  • Pull the body weight up when climbing, swimming, or doing pull-ups.
  • Assist with breathing by expanding the rib cage during inhalation and contracting when exhaling. (Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2023)
  • Rotate the arm inward.
  • Pull the arm toward the center of the body.
  • Extend the shoulders by working with the teres major, teres minor, and posterior deltoid muscles.
  • Bring down the shoulder girdle by arching the spine.
  • To bend to the side by arching the spine.
  • Tilt the pelvis forward.


The thoracodorsal nerve can be injured anywhere along its path by trauma or disease. Symptoms of nerve damage can include: (U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus. 2022)

  • Pain that can be shooting, stabbing, or electrical sensations.
  • Numbness, tingling.
  • Weakness and loss of function in the associated muscles and body parts, including wrist and finger drop.
  • Because of the nerve’s path through the armpit, doctors have to be cautious of the anatomical variants so they don’t inadvertently damage a nerve during breast cancer procedures, including axillary dissection.
  • The procedure is performed to examine or remove lymph nodes and is used in staging breast cancer and in treatment.
  • According to a study, 11% of individuals with axillary lymph node dissection suffered damage to the nerve. (Roser Belmonte et al., 2015)

Breast Reconstruction

  • In breast reconstruction surgery, the lats can be used as a flap over the implant.
  • Depending on the circumstances, the thoracodorsal nerve can be left intact or severed.
  • The medical community has not agreed on which method has the best outcomes. (Sung-Tack Kwon et al., 2011)
  • There is some evidence that leaving the nerve intact can cause the muscle to contract and dislocate the implant.
  • An intact thoracodorsal nerve may also cause atrophy of the muscle, which can lead to shoulder and arm weakness.

Graft Uses

A portion of the thoracodorsal nerve is commonly used in nerve graft reconstruction to restore function after injury, which includes the following:

  • Musculocutaneous nerve
  • Accessory nerve
  • Axillary nerve
  • The nerve can also be used to restore nerve function to the triceps muscle in the arm.


If the thoracodorsal nerve is injured or damaged, treatments can include:

  • Braces or splints.
  • Physical therapy to improve range of motion, flexibility, and muscle strength.
  • If there is compression, surgery may be required to alleviate the pressure.

Exploring Integrative Medicine


Chu B, Bordoni B. Anatomy, Thorax, Thoracodorsal Nerves. [Updated 2023 Jul 24]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:

Al Maksoud, A. M., Barsoum, A. K., & Moneer, M. M. (2015). Langer’s arch: a rare anomaly affects axillary lymphadenectomy. Journal of surgical case reports, 2015(12), rjv159.

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “latissimus dorsi“. Encyclopedia Britannica, 30 Nov. 2023, Accessed 2 January 2024.

U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus. Peripheral neuropathy.

Belmonte, R., Monleon, S., Bofill, N., Alvarado, M. L., Espadaler, J., & Royo, I. (2015). Long thoracic nerve injury in breast cancer patients treated with axillary lymph node dissection. Supportive care in cancer : official journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer, 23(1), 169–175.

Kwon, S. T., Chang, H., & Oh, M. (2011). Anatomic basis of interfascicular nerve splitting of innervated partial latissimus dorsi muscle flap. Journal of plastic, reconstructive & aesthetic surgery : JPRAS, 64(5), e109–e114.