What does spinal pinched nerve pain feel like?
A spinal pinched nerve is a nerve root in the neck or back that’s being irritated or compressed by surrounding body tissue. In the spine, this nerve compression typically occurs as a result of the breakdown of a spinal disc, either because of aging or injury. Bone spurs, which often form in spinal osteoarthritis patients, can also rub against adjacent nerves and cause inflammation, pain and other symptoms.
The symptoms of a spinal pinched nerve
If you have a spinal pinched nerve, the location of the nerve compression can play a role in the severity and type of pain you may experience. The most common areas of the spine for a pinched nerve to occur are in the neck and lower back. These parts of the spine are responsible for bending, twisting and many other movements that we perform daily and thus are subject to more wear and tear than the middle region of the spine. Additionally, the lower back bears most of the body’s weight and is often stressed by lifting activities. Both of these factors contribute to the frequency of pinched nerves in this part of the spine.
Generally speaking, a spinal pinched nerve can cause stabbing or aching pain, stiffness, muscle weakness and/or spasms, numbness and tingling sensations. If the affected nerve is in the neck, the resulting pain and other symptoms can radiate into the shoulders, arms and hands. If the nerve compression is in the lower back, the pain and other symptoms can radiate into the buttocks, legs and feet. A pinched sciatic nerve is a common spine condition that can cause sciatica, which is typically characterized by shooting pains, weakness and tingling sensations that affect the lower body, usually on one side. In rare cases, nerve compression in the lower back can cause an emergency medical condition called cauda equina syndrome, which is characterized by loss of bladder or bowel control, numbness in the groin and severe muscle weakness in the legs. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention.
What to do if you think you have a spinal pinched nerve
If you believe you’re experiencing pain related to spinal nerve compression, it’s important to consult with your doctor and obtain a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. The typical treatment plan will consist of pain and anti-inflammatory medications, rest, ice and/or heat therapy and stretching exercises. If several weeks or months of pursuing nonsurgical treatments don’t result in adequate pain relief, you may wish to consider minimally invasive outpatient surgery at Laser Spine Institute as a treatment option. Our minimally invasive procedures are a safer and effective alternative to traditional open neck and back procedures.^
We’ll be happy to tell you more about our state-of-the-art surgery center and provide you with a free MRI review* to help determine whether you’re a candidate for our procedures. Contact Laser Spine Institute today to get started.