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Pinched Nerve Q & A

What exactly is a pinched nerve?

A pinched nerve is a nerve inhibited by pressure. When tissues, bones, muscles, tendons, or any external forces put too much pressure on a nerve, you may experience uncomfortable symptoms at the site of pressure, including:

  • Burning, aching, or sharp pain
     

  • Tingling (paresthesia), commonly known as “pins and needles”
     

  • Muscle weakness
     

  • Numbness 
     

Symptoms range in severity and tend to get worse when you are lying down or sleeping. Most often, people experience pinched nerves in their lower spine or wrist.

What causes a pinched nerve?

Pinched nerves are more likely to occur if you have any of the underlying conditions:
 

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
     

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
     

  • Obesity 
     

  • Injury
     

  • Bone spurs
     

  • Stenosis, or narrowing, of the spinal foramina
     

The common thread between these conditions is that they can alter the normal functioning of the nerves, either by causing swelling of the surrounding tissue or by applying undue pressure.

How is a pinched nerve diagnosed?

If your doctor suspects your pain or discomfort may be due to a pinched nerve, they may recommend any of the following tests:
 

  • Nerve conduction studies
     

  • Electromyography
     

  • MRI
     

  • Ultrasound 

How can you treat a pinched nerve?

To treat your pinched nerve, we offer a range of options, depending on its location and severity. As our clinic´s philosophy is always to consider a conservative treatment first, our team of physicians and rehabilitators will evaluate you to determine whether your condition can be improved with physical therapy alone. 

Our full range of treatments include:


 

Physical therapy

If your nerve pain originates with muscle pressure, physical therapy may be the best option for you. During physical therapy, your therapist will show and teach you exercises that stretch and strengthen the relevant muscles, so that they “drape away” from the nerve. Your therapist will also design a personalized, at-home exercise program for you and may suggest modifications to your activities to help you avoid aggravating the affected nerve.

Epidural steroid injections (ESI)

If your pinched nerve is located near your spine and requires more targeted treatment, your physician may inject steroids into your spine to relieve pressure and pain in that area. ESIs are used to reduce the inflammation that causes radicular pain, numbness, or discomfort that “travel” from your spinal nerve root to other areas of your body, such as your legs. Typically, administering an ESI isn´t painful and you most likely won’t need sedation during your treatment. 

You can receive ESIs either as a primary treatment or if your condition does not improve with physical therapy alone.

Spinal cord stimulators (SCS)

If you’ve been suffering from chronic pain for an extended period of time, you may be a candidate for SCS. This is especially true if your nerve pain comes from damaged nerves, such as those caused by disease, arthritis, injury, or surgery complications. SCS are implants that deliver mild electrical currents to your spinal column nerves in order to interrupt pain signals traveling to your brain.

If you believe you’re suffering from one or more pinched nerves or nerve damage, remember that you don’t have to accept living with chronic pain. If you are searching or ready for a solution, reach out to us today and let us restore your comfort and motion.