A pinched nerve — how long can this condition be expected to last?
Oftentimes, a pinched nerve is a result of age-related spinal degeneration (spondylosis), which just about everyone experiences at some point in their life. As the human body ages, subtle changes take place at the cellular level, causing deterioration that gradually worsens over time. Additionally, some people are genetically predisposed to developing spondylosis early on in life.
A pinched nerve may be associated with a variety of degenerative spinal issues. The facet joints can become painfully inflamed, sometimes causing protective bone spurs to form on nearby vertebrae. The discs can become drier and more brittle and, as a result, may bulge or herniate. As the spinal column becomes less stable, the vertebrae may shift out of alignment, sometimes slipping forward over each other. All of these issues can lead to excess tissue in the spinal canal, which can pressure sensitive nerve tissue and cause a pinched nerve.
What can you do?
To a certain extent, age-related spinal degeneration is inevitable, and once degenerative changes occur, they cannot be reversed. However, there are some steps you can take to delay the onset, slow the progression and minimize the effects of spondylosis, including a pinched nerve. These actions include:
- Exercising regularly
- Achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight
- Eating a well-balanced, low-fat diet
- Practicing good posture
- Avoiding prolonged sitting
- Avoiding tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption
- Learning and using proper lifting techniques
These steps are not just helpful for preventing a pinched nerve — all are characteristics of a balanced, healthy lifestyle, which can go a long way toward enhancing well-being in general and spine health in particular.
Pinched nerve surgery
Back pain and other pinched nerve symptoms can often be managed effectively without surgery. For instance, mild to moderate discomfort can usually be addressed with conservative treatments, such as physical therapy, hot and cold compresses and anti-inflammatory medications. To achieve the best possible results, it may be necessary to combine therapies.
If pinched nerve pain persists or worsens after several weeks or months of conservative treatment, Laser Spine Institute may be able to help. Our team can provide detailed information on the various treatment options we offer. Our surgeons perform minimally invasive outpatient surgery that is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery.^ If you would like to find out if you’re a candidate, contact us to request more information.