Pinched Nerve Overview
Pinched nerve is a general term used to describe a painful condition that occurs when any structure in your body puts abnormal pressure on a nearby nerve, or triggers nerve stretching or narrowing. When pressure affects a nerve root in or near your spinal column, the resulting condition is called a radiculopathy.
In many cases, the sharp pain that you feel in your neck, back or shoulders is an acute pain that will resolve with rest, proper posture, gentle stretches, and pain medication. It is important for every patient to try all conservative measures before exploring any type of spine surgery – even an outpatient procedure like the AccuraScope procedure.
Have you tried conservative treatments yet? Read our list of recommended conservative treatments before a minimally invasive procedure, and read pain prevention tips in our courtesy online magazine.
North American Spine Can Help
If you have been diagnosed by a medical professional with Pinched Nerve, your symptoms have continued for more than 3-6 months – and you have already tried conservative treatments including rest, pain medication, physical therapy, lifestyle adjustments and epidural steroid injections – then the AccuraScope procedure may be right for you. Contact a North American Spine patient coordinator to discuss your symptoms and previous treatments, and to receive a free review of your current MRI report.
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Pinched Nerve Causes
Potential causes or secondary factors in the development of a pinched nerve include osteoarthritis, traumatic physical injury, repetitive body stress, obesity, poor posture and participation in certain contact sports or other hobbies. One common form of pinched nerve, called carpal tunnel syndrome, occurs when the median nerve—which runs through an opening in the interior of your wrist called the carpal tunnel—is impinged upon by abnormal bone enlargement, swelling in nearby tendon sheaths or degeneration or thickening of nearby ligaments.
The number one cause of a nerve radiculopathy is the development of a herniated disc between two or more bones (vertebrae) in your back. Other potential causes include advancing rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis; diabetes complications; infectious diseases such as syphilis, Lyme disease or herpes; and spinal lesions such as tumors, abscesses or neurofibromas.
Pinched Nerve Symptoms
Common symptoms of a pinched nerve include pain that extends outward from the site of the affected nerve, a hand or foot that “falls asleep” and localized burning, tingling, numbness, muscle twitching or muscle weakness. In addition to altered nerve sensations, radiculopathy can produce symptoms that include radiating or localized pain that feels like an electric shock; loss of normal tendon function; pain that grows worse when you sneeze, cough or move your back; muscle weakness; impaired sphincter control and reduced sexual function.
Pinched Nerve Treatments
Doctors typically start pinched nerve treatment by recommending rest of the impaired area and asking you to suspend any physical activities that might trigger or irritate your condition. In the case of carpal tunnel syndrome or other pinched nerves in your limbs, you may be able to reinforce rest with a suitable brace or splint. Medications used to treat pinched nerve symptoms include nonprescription and prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroid injections. Physical therapy options include activity modification and exercises designed to relieve nerve pressure by stretching or strengthening nearby muscles. In some cases, people with chronic pinched nerves need surgery to correct their condition.
Treatment options for a radiculopathy are similar to those for other forms of pinched nerve. In some cases, doctors add oral corticosteroids and short-term narcotic use to the list of medication choices. Surgical options for a radiculopathy include a procedure called a laminectomy, a related procedure called a laminotomy and a third unrelated procedure called a discectomy.
Take the Next Step
Contact a North American Spine patient coordinator today. Use the Ask An Expert form on this page or call us at (877) 474-2225.