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Solutions for Pinched Nerve Pain

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Pinched nerves are a very common condition that can cause severe pain in the neck and back. Your spinal cord is filled with nerves, which help your body and brain communicate. Nerves enter and exit the spinal cord and branch out into the muscles of your body. Those nerves can become pinched due to many different causes. When you have a pinched nerve in your back, it transmits signals of pain to your brain. It could also create numbness or weakness in your extremities. These signals should not be ignored. They are signs that you need to seek pinched nerve treatment at Spine INA in New Jersey.

Causes of Pinched Nerves

The delicate nerves or surrounding tissue become pinched when too much pressure, or compression, is applied to this area. Unfortunately, almost anything that causes an increase in pressure on the neck or back nerves can create a pinched nerve, including repetitive daily work. It can also be caused by the way you hold your body, such as always crossing your legs or poor posture. Over time, this pressure can lead to a pinched nerve in that region of the body.

Some of the most common conditions that cause pinched nerves in the neck or back include:

  • Herniated disc or bulging disc: The gel-like discs that act as cushions between the vertebrae can rupture or become displaced, causing pressure on the nerves in the spine.
  • Bone spurs: Bony projections that develop along a bone’s edge, even in the spine, can cause the space where nerves travel to become narrow, thus pinching the nerves.
  • Arthritis: The swelling and inflammation associated with arthritis can impact your spine and cause pressure on nerve roots.
  • Damage or injury: Injury or damage to the spine can create severe inflammation, which can put pressure on nerves in this region.
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Pinched Nerve Causes and Symptoms

What Causes Pinched Nerves?

The nerves in your spine pass through a narrow space in your spinal canal called the foramen. This is where your spinal nerves are at their most vulnerable for being pinched, compressed, or irritated by pressure. This can happen because of injury, trauma, or degenerative disc disease. A degenerative condition in the spine can cause the discs in your back to crack or tear, allowing the inner gel-like material to bulge out and put pressure on your nerves. Pinched nerves can also be caused by issues like improperly lifting heavy objects, repetitive motion injuries, or even bad posture.

Whatever causes it, once the nerve is pinched, it becomes inflamed. That’s what causes the neck or back pain. You might also experience pain in your extremities.

Pinched Nerve Symptoms

The most common pinched nerve symptom is a tingling or numbness. Sometimes the sensation starts out infrequent but occurs more often as time goes by. Other pinched nerve symptoms include:

  • Weakness in your arms, hands, or legs
  • Pain in your lower back that gets worse with physical activity or even when simply coughing or sneezing
  • Sciatica pain that goes through your buttocks and into your legs and potentially into your foot

Severe pinched nerve cases can even cause weakness in your muscles, ultimately resulting in the loss of function. Untreated pinched nerves can result in issues such as carpal tunnel syndrome and peripheral neuropathy, not to mention incredible pain.

Pinched Nerve Diagnosis and Treatments in Central New Jersey

Diagnosing a Pinched Nerve

In order to get the right treatment for your pinched nerve, you’ll need an accurate diagnosis. Our medical team will take you through a comprehensive workup that might include the following:

  • Getting your medical history. Our doctors will want to know your current symptoms, previous treatments you’ve had for the symptoms, and what you are currently doing to mitigate the pain.
  • A thorough physical examination. Your spine specialist will want to examine you for signs of any issues with your balance, pain, loss of sensation, weakness in your muscles, or any signs of spinal cord damage.
  • Testing. This usually includes x-rays to rule out infections or tumors. Other imaging such as CT scans gives your spinal doctor a three-dimensional view of your spine and its structure.

Possible Solutions for Pinched Nerves

A pinched nerve should be treated as soon as possible. If neglected, compressed nerves can cause both temporary and long-term issues. Long-term damage could include a loss of sensation or weakness in some of your muscles. However, recovery from a pinched nerve is often achieved within a few days or weeks with rest and other conservative treatments. A spine specialist, like those at New Jersey’s Spine INA, can accurately diagnose a pinched nerve in the back or neck and help you find the right treatment for pain relief.

After receiving your diagnosis, your doctor will primarily focus on conservative treatment because most people respond to a combination of these options:

  • Rest from activities that aggravate nerve compression
  • Wearing a brace to immobilize the affected area
  • Physical therapy to stretch and strengthen muscles in the affected area
  • Medications or injections to help manage pain and reduce inflammation

If after a few weeks or months of conservative treatment your pinched nerve does not recover, it may be time to consider a least invasive surgical option provided by the team at Spine INA. The doctors here create an honest environment to ensure you fully understand all treatment available to you and can make an educated decision. The helpful and friendly staff will be with you every step of the way so that you can go back to doing the things you love.

If you’re struggling with neck or back pain, contact us today to find out if you have a pinched nerve.

Treatment Options for a Pinched Nerve

Non-Operative Treatment for Pinched Nerves

Your doctor will want to start with conservative treatments for your pinched nerve. These benefit most patients with pinched nerve symptoms. Conservative treatments include:

  • Pain medication, including muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatories, and sometimes even narcotic painkillers.
  • Alternating cold and hot compresses for the first twenty-four to forty-eight hours.
  • Physical therapy to stretch, massage, and strengthen your back.
  • Epidural steroid injections to reduce your inflammation and help your spine specialist pinpoint the exact location of your pinched nerve.

Least Invasive Endoscopic Procedure Options for Pinched Nerves

If you are still experiencing pinched nerve symptoms after attempting conservative treatments, then it may be time to consider a surgical option. The following procedures offer up to a 90% success rate in treating bulging discs and pinched nerves.

  • Endoscopic Discectomy (transforaminal or interlaminar): Using an incision that’s only about a ¼ of an inch long, your spinal surgeon can access the spinal canal without damaging your muscles. Using a high-definition camera, your surgeon will locate the herniated disc and complete the procedure. Most patients are able to return to work within the week. Conscious sedation is used, eliminating the risk of general anesthesia, so you are comfortable and aware during the surgery.
  • Endoscopic LaminotomyEndoscopic Laminotomy is a least invasive procedure in which your surgeon will create an opening in the lamina above and below the spinal disc causing you trouble in order to relive compression.
  • Endoscopic Foraminoplasty: Using local anesthesia, your surgeon will make a small, 1/4 inch incision in your back, near your pinched nerve. A tube will be inserted which will allow the surgeon to insert a camera to give a clear look at the issue causing your pain. The surgeon can use surgical instruments to correct the damaged portion of your spine.

What to Expect Following Treatment

Most patients are able to recover from a pinched nerve with a combination of rest and non-operative treatment options within a few days or weeks. However, if your doctor recommends a surgical option, like the endoscopic discectomy performed by the specialists at Spine INA, you can usually expect a short recovery time.

How Long Is Recovery After an Endoscopic Discectomy?

Patients undergoing an endoscopic discectomy can expect the entire procedure to last about an hour. There are no stitches, simply a band-aid placed over the incision area. Although there shouldn’t be a great deal of pain afterward, some patients report feeling:

  • Muscle aches or soreness
  • Some pain at the incision site
  • Infrequent twinges of pain as the nerve regenerates
  • Some drowsiness

Directly after the procedure, it takes about an hour to recover before you can go home. After just a few days, many patients feel well enough to return to work. However, you should always listen to your body and discuss symptoms with your doctor.

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