Pinched nerve symptoms
Pinched nerve symptoms can range in severity from mild, occasional discomfort to severe, chronic pain. Spinal nerves can become compressed for a number of reasons, including minor injuries to muscles, ligaments and other soft tissues. If pain and discomfort occur for several weeks or months, the source of neural compression is likely due to a degenerative spinal condition, such as a herniated or bulging disc, osteoarthritis or spinal stenosis.
Those dealing with debilitating pain and other symptoms related to a pinched nerve have treatment options. By educating yourself as a patient you can become more engaged with your doctor or specialist, allowing you to ask the right questions and better understand the answers to get the help you need.
Where are pinched nerve symptoms experienced?
When nerve compression occurs in the spine, you may experience symptoms of pain, tingling, muscle weakness and numbness in seemingly unrelated areas of the body. The location of pinched nerve symptoms will vary depending on which region of the spine is affected:
- Cervical (upper) spine — symptoms travel to the neck, shoulders, upper back and arms
- Thoracic (middle) spine — symptoms travel to the middle back, ribs, torso and internal organs
- Lumbar (lower) spine — symptoms travel to the lower back, hips, buttocks and legs
The various spinal conditions that can lead to nerve compression most commonly occur in the cervical and lumbar regions of the spine. These areas are much more flexible than the relatively stable thoracic spine, making them more vulnerable to degeneration.
How is a pinched nerve treated?
Pinched nerve symptoms can very often be relieved through conservative, nonsurgical means. Your doctor may suggest the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), the application of heating pads and cold compresses and the assistance of a physical therapist. If these and other conservative options are exhausted without offering relief, you may be asked to consider surgery. Before you agree to undergo a traditional open spine surgery performed in a hospital, reach out to Laser Spine Institute. We perform minimally invasive spine surgery that is a safer and effective alternative, offering patients less risk of complication and a shorter recovery period compared to traditional procedures.
Contact us to learn more and to request a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan* to help determine if you are a candidate for one of our outpatient procedures.