As we age, the likelihood of developing a pinched nerve in the spine increases. This is because the components of the spinal anatomy degenerate as a natural result of everyday wear and tear, starting as early as the second decade of life. By the time we reach middle age, intervertebral discs have begun to lose their water content and elasticity, while the cartilage between vertebral joints has begun to deteriorate. This degeneration can alter the shape of vertebrae and other anatomical components, which can threaten the integrity of the spinal cord or adjacent nerve roots. A nerve that is compressed by a bone spur or herniated disc can produce symptoms such as pain, tingling, numbness or muscle weakness.
What Age Group is Most Likely to Get a Pinched Nerve?
Men in their 40s and women in their 50s are most likely to get a pinched nerve. This is because of two factors related to the typical pattern of spinal degeneration. First, by middle age, everyday wear and tear on the spine has taken its toll on the discs, which have begun to lose water content and elasticity. Second, the facet joints – the points where vertebrae meet and move – have begun to break down through long years of use. The discs’ diminished ability to provide cushioning, combined with less joint stability, can lead to bone-on-bone friction and the development of bone spurs (osteophytes), which can begin to impinge, or pinch, adjacent nerves. Degenerating discs also are susceptible to herniation or bulging, another threat to neural function.
How to Combat the Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve
About 90 percent of the time, people who develop pain or other symptoms because of a pinched nerve can find relief using conservative treatment methods, such as pain medication, physical therapy, exercise or behavior modification. However, if chronic pain persists after several weeks of conservative treatment, contact Laser Spine Institute. Tens of thousands of patients have found relief through our minimally invasive, outpatient procedures utilizing advanced, endoscopic techniques.