How Pinched Nerve Symptoms Develop
Pinched nerve symptoms will vary based on which specific nerve or nerves are compressed, as well as their location in the body. Nerve impingement in the spine can be especially debilitating because this is where the spinal nerve roots (nerves that branch off the spinal cord) reside - if a root is pinched, all of the peripheral neural pathways branching off that root throughout the body will be affected, a condition referred to as radiculopathy. A variety of conditions can cause a pinched nerve root in the upper back and neck (cervical spine), or the lower back (lumbar spine), including herniated discs, bulging discs, spondylolisthesis, and bone spurs.
Pinched nerve symptoms can take any of the following forms and will usually be radiculopathic in nature, meaning that they will radiate or travel along the entire path of the nerve or nerves that branch off from the compressed root:
- Sharp pain
- Warm, burning pain
- Tingling or a pins-and-needles sensation
- Muscle weakness
What to Do After a Positive Diagnosis
If, due to any of the above pinched nerve causes, you do develop nerve compression and your doctor confirms this during the course of a physical exam and medical imaging, you will need to embark on a treatment plan. Most people with a pinched nerve are able to relieve their symptoms with a regimen of conservative treatments that may include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, gentle stretching, low-impact exercise, corticosteroid injections, hot compresses, and ice packs. Your doctor may also suggest ultrasound therapy, analgesic pain patches, or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).
In the event that your symptoms do no abate after several months of the above treatments, surgery may become a consideration. Contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more about our minimally invasive approach to pinched nerve treatment. Our innovative, endoscopic techniques offer many patients a welcome alternative to the potential risks and complications of open spine surgery.