The spine is a marvelously strong structure that houses the pathways for information. That information can include the control of movement or feelings of pain, pressure, and temperature. The pathway for which this information travels is made up of nerves.
Nerves are responsible for transferring information from a peripheral structure (eg. calf muscle or the skin on your foot) to the brain and vice versa.
All the nerves from your legs, arms, and body join together into one big highway called the spinal cord. At certain levels of your spine these nerves enter the spinal cord through small spaces in between your vertebrae, named intervertebral foramen.
If this space is narrowed and the nerve is exposed to a small amount of physical/ mechanical or chemical compression, you may experience feelings of pins and needles, a burning sensation, stabbing, and/or sharp shooting pains.
All nerves supply areas of skin and muscles. Depending where this irritation occurs can depend on where the symptoms are felt. This may be down the leg, down the arm or into the feet and hands.
But why is this happening?
Things that can cause this compression include an intervertebral disc bulge, foraminal canal narrowing, or a local swelling to the area from an injury or irritation.
We often see patients present with these issues but most of the time they are changeable with Physiotherapy alone.
If you believe you are experiencing any of the things we have talked about here, it is best to consult with your GP and Physiotherapist as soon as possible.
About the Author:
Roland is a Tasmanian local who studied a Bachelor of Physiotherapy at Charles Sturt University in Albury, NSW.
Roland is particularly interested in sporting injuries. Roly is an avid sports person who takes part in any sport he can find, but his favourites are AFL, basketball, surfing and snowboarding.
Roland also has an interest in chronic pain and has spent time working as a sports trainer.