Pinched nerve treatment and prevention strategies
Dealing with the painful symptoms of a pinched nerve in the spine can take you away from the things in life you once enjoyed. Finding effective treatment for pinched nerve pain is very important both to ease pain on a short-term and long-term basis. While nerve compression due to age or injury-related conditions like a herniated disc or spinal arthritis can be unavoidable, there are still many things you can do to both relieve current symptoms and potentially prevent or slow down the development of pinched nerves.
The most common cause of pinched nerves is due to conditions related to the natural degeneration of the spine due to aging. The main parts of the spine, the vertebrae, discs and joints, deteriorate as you age due to wear and tear from normal activity. This deterioration can cause compression of spinal nerves by causing displacement of spinal anatomy that narrows the already tight nerve pathways in the spinal column.
While no one can totally prevent age-related breakdown within the spine, there are lifestyle choices that can slow it down and potentially prevent the circumstances that cause narrowing and nerve compression. These include:
- Posture. Slouching, stooping or sitting hunched over your desk all day can cause poor alignment and weight distribution, putting unneeded strain on the spine.
- Diet and exercise. Good eating and exercise habits work together to strengthen supporting muscles and keep unnecessary weight off the spine.
- Tobacco and alcohol consumption. These behaviors are both proven to quicken the natural degeneration process by drying out discs and breaking down protein content.
Pinched nerve treatment methods
Because the direct cause of a pinched nerve varies from person to person, the recommended course of treatment also varies. Since the root cause of your pain could be a herniated disc, osteoarthritis or another issue, it’s important to consult your doctor for the best treatments for your specific needs.
One of the most commonly recommended pinched nerve treatment approaches is rest. But be careful to avoid overly long periods of inactivity so the supporting muscles do not weaken. Decreasing inflammation through medication and the application of ice packs, and increasing blood circulation through heat therapy or massage, combine to be effective at relieving symptoms. Many doctors will also include physical therapy as a method to improve the overall flexibility and strength of the spine and surrounding muscles.
In many cases, conservative pinched nerve treatment is very effective for relieving symptoms. If you have tried months of therapy without the pain relief you need, you and your doctor may begin to consider surgery.
Laser Spine Institute provides minimally invasive outpatient procedures that are a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery.^ Our minimally invasive decompression surgery can remove a small portion of the damaged spine material that is placing pressure on your pinched nerve. In more severe cases that are causing spinal instability, we can perform minimally invasive stabilization procedures that are an outpatient alternative to traditional fusions. To learn more, contact us today.
We can provide a free MRI or CT scan review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.