Numbness related to nerve compression
A pinched nerve, also known as a compressed nerve, causes numbness, pain, tingling and weakness that can occur in any part of the body. A pinched nerve occurs when tissue like bone, muscle matter or cartilage obstructs the nerve passageway, causing the nerve to become compressed and disturbing the signals that the nerve carries.
The spine is very prone to nerve compression and the location of symptoms depends on where this compression occurs. For example, if compression occurs in the cervical (upper) spine, a patient might feel numbness, tingling and shooting pain in the shoulders and all the way down to the hands. Likewise, a pinched nerve in the lumbar (lower) spine can cause symptoms to be felt in the legs and as far down as the feet. Sciatica, a term many are familiar with, refers to symptoms — including numbness — occurring due to compression of the long sciatic nerve which begins in the lower spine.
Diagnosing and treating nerve numbness
Many patients are diagnosed with a pinched nerve after they see their primary care doctor about numbness and other symptoms that have not gone away after a short period of time. The physician will likely conduct a physical examination and may order diagnostic imagery like an MRI or CT scan before designing a treatment plan.
Treatment usually begins conservatively, and most patients find relief by resting the affected area and applying hot and cold compresses to the site of the pinched nerve. Other conservative pinched nerve treatment options include:
- Pain medication
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Physical therapy
- Epidural steroid injections
When to consider surgery
While many conservative therapies are successful in relieving pinched nerve symptoms, if nerve damage is severe and causes chronic pain, surgery may become an option. Laser Spine Institute offers a minimally invasive alternative to traditional open back surgery. Our procedures use state-of-the-art technology to access the spine and decompress nerves with a small incision, often less than 1 inch. This leads to a shorter recovery time^ with less risk of complication for our patients.
You don’t have to live with the symptoms of a pinched nerve, like numbness, pain and other conditions that prevent you from doing the things you love. Contact Laser Spine Institute today for more information and a no-cost MRI review* to see if you may be a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery.