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What Are the Causes of Nerve Pain & Spasms?

author image Noreen Kassem
Noreen Kassem is a hospital doctor and a medical writer. Her articles have been featured in "Women's Health," "Nutrition News," "Check Up" and "Alive Magazine." Kassem also covers travel, books, fitness, nutrition, cooking and green living.
What Are the Causes of Nerve Pain & Spasms?
A doctor is talking to a patient. Photo Credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

Nerve pain and spasms can occur in any area of the body and commonly originate in the back due to disorders of the spinal cord, vertebral column and related structures, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Back pain can be caused by damage or injury to the bones, muscles, ligaments and nerves of the back. The intervertebral disks of the spinal column can degenerate due to mechanical stress and strain, wear and tear, and disease. UMMC notes that nerve pain and spasms can occur in the lower and upper back, neck, buttocks and thighs. Spinal degeneration can lead to compressed and damaged nerves, causing chronic radiating and referred pain. Several conditions can cause degenerative nerve pain and muscle spasms.

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The sciatic nerve in the lower back is the widest and longest nerve in the body and extends from the lower spine through the thighs and down the legs. According to, sciatic nerve pain occurs when this nerve becomes compressed or damaged due to muscle or spinal injury or strain. Symptoms include radiating pain; weakness; numbness; tingling; and muscle spasms in the lower back, buttocks, thighs and legs. Treatment for sciatic nerve pain includes physical therapy exercises and pain relievers.


Nerve-related back problems are also the result of inflammation in the joints of the spine due to rheumatoid arthritis, spinal myelopathy, age-related wear and tear, or injury. This can lead to damage to the nerves between the vertebrae, which can cause nerve pain and muscle spasms in the back and other areas of the body. A study published in the January 2003 issue of "The Spine Journal" recommends anti-inflammatory medications and low-impact physical therapy for the back to reduce the pain and damage of inflammation.


Spondylosis, or spinal osteoarthritis, causes nerve pain and muscle spasms due to degeneration of the spine. explains that spondylosis is a degenerative spinal disease that occurs due to aging or autoimmune issues. Symptoms commonly affect the lower back. In severe cases, nerve damage can occur, leading to loss of sensation and function.

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