How to treat a compressed nerve

A compressed nerve refers to a condition in which a nerve is compressed by an adjacent structure, also known commonly as a “pinched nerve.” The compressing force may be a herniated disc, a bulging disc, foraminal stenosis, an osteophyte or a host of other conditions. The symptoms generated by nerve compression are the same irrespective of its cause: pain, numbness, paresthesia (tingling or prickling) and weakness. Some or all of these symptoms radiate along the course of the nerve, giving the impression that the abnormality is distant from its actual cause.

Compressed nerve causes

When the radiating symptoms are caused by compression of a spinal nerve at its origin or root, the condition is referred to as radicular or a radiculopathy. Many conditions may cause a radiculopathy including:

  • Herniated disc
  • Bulging disc
  • Bone spurs
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Arthritis of the spine

Compressed nerve symptoms

With any of these conditions, there is damaged tissue in the spinal column that is infringing on the neuroforamen, which is the open canal on either side of each vertebra through which spinal nerves pass on their way to other parts of the body. Nerves often translate pressure as pain and send signals to the brain accordingly. Other symptoms may include numbness, tingling, weakness or decreased mobility.

Treatment options

The initial treatment of symptoms generated by nerve compression should be conservative, nonsurgical therapies, which are often successful. Examples of conservative treatments are:

  • Rest
  • Physical therapy
  • Sessions of mild chiropractic work
  • Pain medication, which may include over-the-counter or prescription drugs
  • Application of hot and cold compresses
  • Epidural steroid injections of the slow-release hormone, cortisone

If conservative measures fail to treat your compressed nerve symptoms, there are surgical options aimed at treating neural compression. To lessen unnecessary trauma to normal tissue, and to minimize surgical risk, the least invasive effective surgical technique should be employed. Currently, the least invasive form of spine surgery is minimally invasive spine surgery, such as the procedures performed at Laser Spine Institute, to treat compressed nerves and other spine conditions. Our minimally invasive decompression, and in severe cases, stabilization surgeries, are often the clinically appropriate first choice and provide many advantages versus open neck or back surgery, such as smaller incisions and faster recovery times.^ Contact us today for a review of your MRI report or CT scan and for more information concerning compressed nerves.