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Pinched Nerve
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A pinched nerve occurs when too much pressure or compression is applied to a nerve. This pressure can be caused by surrounding anatomy, such as cartilage, muscles, tendons, tissues, and even bones, which have interrupted the normal function of the nerve and cause weakness pain tingling, and numbness. 

Suffering from a pinched nerve? Try our pain assessment questionnaire to find the right treatment:

How Do I Know If I Have a Pinched Nerve?

What causes a pinched nerve?

The calling card of pinched nerves is radicular pain. Radicular pain follows the exact route of the affected nerve into the lower extremity. When the root of a pinched nerve becomes inflamed, the result is radiculitis. Radiculitis is known for causing “pins and needles” sensations as well as numbness and sharp pains. Due to the vast, complicated nature of the central nervous system, pinched nerves are often the result of other existing conditions.

A pinched nerve is, at its core, is a symptom of a bigger issue; herniated discs, sciatica, bulging discs, disc degeneration, osteoarthritis, and even bone spurs have been known to cause pinched or impinged nerves.

What are the symptoms of a pinched nerve?

The pain, numbness, tingling, and “pins and needles” sensation associated with a pinched nerve is typically felt in the arms and legs as it follows the route of the specific nerve that is pinched. The most common symptoms associated with pinched nerves occur due to:

  • Weakness occurs because the compression on the nerve interrupts the neural signals that are being transmitted. This interruption can inhibit muscle response resulting in weakness. 
  • Numbness/tingling can be irregular or prompted by specific movements or actions. It is the result of breaks in communication with the brain because the neural signal could not be completed or was sent incorrectly.
  • Radicular pain can have a significant impact on your daily life. This type of pain radiates along the path of the nerve into the extremities. Depending on the location of the pinch, your arms or legs can suffer from radicular pain.

The longer the nerve is impinged and untreated, the higher the chance of permanent damage. Often the symptoms will increase and worsen over time without treatment. To seek prompt and proper treatment for your pinched nerve, confirm your diagnosis below.  

If you think you are experiencing the symptoms of a pinched nerve, use our interactive condition check tool to start your diagnosis.

How are Pinched Nerves Treated? 

The secret to treating a pinched nerves lies within diagnosing the issue or condition that is causing the pressure of the nerve and where that compression is located. While diagnosing a pinched nerve, you could encounter the following tests to investigate your specific condition:

  • Nerve conduction study to measure nerve impulses and detect damage. 
  • Electromyography to measure electrical activity leading to your muscles as they contract and rest to indicate nerve issues.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging to provide multiple views of your body which isolates nerve compression using a magnetic field and radio waves.
  • High-resolution ultrasound uses sound waves to capture images of your body that can highlight nerve compression syndromes for diagnosis.

Non-Surgical Treatments for Pinched Nerves

Conservative, non-surgical treatments are typically the first step in dealing with pinched nerves but this can be dependent on the stage and severity of the underlying issue. These treatment options include: 

  • Rest
  • Modified Activity
  • Anti-Inflammatories
  • Physical Therapy

Surgical Treatments Options for Pinched Nerves

After non-surgical treatment options have been exhausted or the stage of your pinched nerve is deemed too severe, surgical treatment options are your next step. Because pinched nerves are often a symptom, the specific surgery will be determined based on the condition that is causing the pinched nerve. 

For example, if your pinched nerve is the result of sciatica or a herniated disc, a surgical procedure called laminoforaminotomy could be the right path for you.  

If your pinched nerve requires a full disc to be removed, an artificial disc replacement may be the answer. 

An ISSI spine specialist will be able to determine the exact pinched nerve treatment for you based on your specific underlying condition and its stage of progression.




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