What is a pinched nerve?

Although millions of people worldwide experience pain resulting from pinched nerves, many people don’t understand the nature of this condition. As its name suggests, a pinched nerve is a nerve that has become compressed by adjacent muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones or other soft tissue in the body.

Common pinched nerve causes

A pinched nerve can occur at any location throughout the body, with the spine being a common source of nerve compression due to the high volume of nerves contained in a tightly constructed area. For example, herniated discs are often the cause of pinched nerves in the spine. Spinal discs are the cushions between the spinal vertebrae. When a disc herniates, the outer layer tears, permitting the softer inner layer to push out into the spinal column, often resulting in a pinched nerve.

Symptoms of pinched spinal nerves

Nerves transmit messages by way of electrical impulses between the brain and the rest of the body. When a nerve is compressed, its ability to transmit vital sensory and motor signals is diminished, which can lead to painful and debilitating symptoms including:

• Pain radiating outward from the source of the compressed nerve
• Numbness and decreased sensation
• Tingling in the upper or lower extremities
• Muscle spasms, weakness, or twitching

These symptoms can be disruptive to the activities of daily living, but there are many effective treatment options to help people manage them. See your doctor to receive an accurate diagnosis and to help you develop an effective treatment plan.

Treatment options

Conservative nonsurgical treatments under the supervision of a physician can help relieve pain. These include:

  • Steroid injections
  • Pain medication
  • Periods of rest
  • Hot and cold compression therapy
  • Massage
  • Physical therapy
  • Light exercise

If conservative treatments have failed to relieve symptoms related to spinal nerve compression and your physician has proposed traditional open back surgery, consider the minimally invasive outpatient procedures performed by Laser Spine Institute. The minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization procedures provided by our board-certified surgeons+ can relieve compressed nerves and provide an outpatient alternative to traditional open spine surgery.

Contact us today for a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.