Pinched Nerves Causes

Pinched nerves occur when soft tissue or bone impinges upon the space occupied by a nerve in your spine or in other parts of your body. This is a leading cause of back pain. A number of underlying causes may explain this nerve impingement.

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Here are a few of the many underlying causes that can lead to a pinched nerve.

Herniated Discs

Doctors commonly use the term “radiculopathy” to describe undue pressure on a nerve or nerve root. The single most likely explanation for the pinching caused by radiculopathy is a herniated disc in your spinal column. Herniated discs occur when the cushioning center of a spinal disc pushes through that disc’s protective outer layer. A pinched nerve results from this situation when material from the center of a damaged disc pushes against one of the nerve roots emerging from the spinal cord and traveling to the rest of the body. The two most likely areas for disc herniation are your lower back (lumbar spine) and neck (cervical spine), although problems may also occur in your mid- or upper back (thoracic spine).

Bone Spurs

Bone spurs are also a fairly common pinched nerve cause. These spurs can form in your spinal column when degenerative changes in your cushioning discs bring at least two of your spinal bones (vertebrae) into abnormal contact. Essentially, your body responds to this situation by producing new bone tissue. Unfortunately, this natural body response hurts instead of helping because the newly formed bone spurs can reduce your normal neck or back flexibility and stick outward into the spinal column. As with herniated discs, bone spurs trigger pinched nerves in the spine when they push against a nearby nerve root.

Additional Causes of Pinched Nerves

Other problems that can cause a pinched nerve (or make existing nerve pinching worse) include experiencing an injury that pushes bone or soft tissue against a nerve, having certain forms of spinal arthritis, having a job that repeatedly puts your spinal column under stress and habitually maintaining body postures that put undue strain on your spine. In addition, you may develop symptoms if you carry enough excess body weight to qualify as obese or take part in sports or other activities that directly or indirectly increase your back or neck stress. While most people experience only temporary pinched nerve symptoms, your problems may become permanent if they linger and go uncorrected.

How are Pinched Nerves Treated?

Pinched Nerves treatment depends on you – your specific physiology and how advanced your case is. The North American Spine medical team and your physician will thoroughly evaluate your situation and recommend a treatment plan to provide both maximum relief and minimum recovery time. Treatment plants are grouped into three categories:

Non-surgical
Decompression
Fusion or Stabilization