If a spinal condition is associated with a pinched nerve the pain often radiates into other areas of the body. A Neurosurgeon can often diagnose a spinal condition based on where the pain is going to more so than where the problem is actually originating.
For example, if you have pain going down into your little finger it is likely to be coming from the level C8 in your neck.
People who have pain running down their leg are often discovered to have a problem at the L5/S1 level.
Check out the picture to see in detail where the nerves go from each level of the spine.
Dr Moloney says that nerve pain hurts where the nerve goes to as opposed to a disc problem which hurts where the disc actually is.
This is why it is so important to have a Spinal Surgeon with the experience and knowledge to diagnose exactly where the problem is before coming up with a surgical plan. If a patient is complaining of back pain and leg pain and the surgeon does a simple discectomy operation the nerve pain in the leg may be improved but the back pain will remain. I think most people would agree that it is better to be rid of all pain rather than just part of the pain and then have to undergo further surgery to deal with the back pain in a short space of time.
Don’t be scared to ask your surgeon the questions you want answered. Dr Moloney likes to explain things to his patients so they understand exactly what the plan is and what the expected outcome is.
If you have further questions after your consultation you can always give our office a ring and our friendly staff are only too happy to answer questions or pass things on to Dr Moloney for clarification.
We’re all here to help.