What to do after receiving a pinched nerve diagnosis
Patients diagnosed with a pinched nerve might experience anxiety, fear and confusion about their diagnosis. The best way to alleviate these fears is to research and learn about pinched nerves so you can make an informed decision about your next steps toward treatment. A great way to gather information about a pinched nerve is to consult your physician. Your physician can discuss with you the symptoms you are experiencing and the best treatment option for your needs.
Explore nonsurgical treatments
There is a vast assortment of nonsurgical treatments for a pinched nerve, and what works for one patient might not for another so finding your ideal treatment regimen might require trial and error. Be sure to discuss the options with your physician. The most common forms of nonsurgical, or conservative, treatment include:
- Medication — A physician might prescribe you pain medication to help reduce the pain caused by a pinched nerve.
- Lifestyle modifications — Losing weight and strengthening your muscles through simple exercises can help relieve the pressure on your pinched nerve.
- Physical therapy — By strengthening the muscles around your spine, you can help keep your spine in alignment and reduce the pressure on your pinched nerve.
Medication is often the first treatment option discussed by physicians. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen relieve pain and reduce swelling. If this proves ineffective, your physician might prescribe a narcotic pain reliever or muscle relaxant, which is a stronger prescription than NSAIDs, to help reduce your pain and symptoms.
Your physician might recommend that you adopt a healthier lifestyle to help treat your pinched nerve. Making healthier choices like becoming more physically active can ease the symptoms caused by a pinched nerve by reducing excess body weight that adds pressure to your nerves and spine. A physical therapist can also help relieve neural compression by strengthening the neck and back muscles, which helps to support the spine.
Receive a second opinion
When searching for a treatment for any spine condition, you should always seek a second opinion. Many times, different physicians will have different insight about effective treatment options. Without a second opinion, you could spend weeks or months attempting treatments with little or no benefit. You should use this opportunity to collaborate with your physicians and determine the best treatment regimen for your needs.
Know when to consider surgery
Most mild cases of a pinched nerve are effectively treated with conservative therapies. However, if your symptoms persist for several weeks or months after getting a second opinion, you might need to consider surgical treatment. Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive alternatives to traditional open back surgery. If the time comes that you need to contemplate undergoing surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute for a review of your MRI or CT scan. Find out if you’re a candidate for our outpatient, minimally invasive spine procedure.