Your spine is amazing. It allows you to bend, twist, stand tall, and move smoothly, and it houses and protects some of the most important nerves in your body. When there’s a problem with your vertebrae, the discs between them, or the soft tissue structures that surround and stabilize your spine, the result could be a pinched nerve.
The experts at The Spine Center at the Bone and Joint Clinic of Baton Rouge specialize in treating problems with your back and spine. They understand the impact a pinched nerve can have on your life, and offer effective treatment for conditions of the spine.
Dr. Kevin McCarthy specializes in treating spinal disorders, Dr. C. Chambliss Harrod has expertise in providing laser procedures, and Dr. Matthew Neumann is an expert in providing injection therapy for patients with spinal conditions.
How nerves get pinched
The technical name for a pinched nerve is nerve compression. Both names imply that a nerve is being crowded or pressed, and that’s exactly what happens. The cause of the compression varies.
One common cause of nerve compression is inflammation. If the tissues around the nerve become inflamed, due to strain, repetitive motion, injury, or something else, they may swell, and put pressure on your nerve.
Since your spine is such a complex structure, with so many nerves exiting from it, there are many ways for one of them to become compressed. For example, if one of your discs is damaged, it may put pressure on a nerve. A condition called spinal stenosis, often associated with arthritis, results in a narrowing of your spinal column and commonly compresses nerves.
Since nerves transmit sensory information to and from your brain, the symptoms of a compressed nerve vary widely. You may feel pain, tingling, numbness, or a burning sensation. You may also feel weak, or as if your muscles don’t obey your commands properly.
Treating pinched nerves
The most appropriate treatment for nerve compression depends on many factors, including the cause and location of the nerve, your symptoms, your medical history, and your goals. The most common and least invasive treatment is to rest the area that is affected. Inflammation is your body’s method of healing, and rest can give it time to work.
Your doctor may also suggest physical therapy to strengthen the structures surrounding your spine. If you have a pinched nerve due to muscle strain, increasing the strength and flexibility of the muscles around your spine could prevent future strain.
Medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can lessen the symptoms of a compressed nerve. Your doctor may suggest a combination of NSAIDs, physical therapy, and rest.
Another possible nonsurgical approach is injection therapy. Cortisone injections may help reduce inflammation and remove the pressure on your nerve, and stem cell injections may help your body heal.
The most important part of any treatment plan is that it’s tailored for your specific situation. The cause of your nerve compression is important in determining the best way to treat it. The physicians at The Spine Center at the Bone and Joint Clinic of Baton Rouge work hard to provide individualized, comprehensive care specifically for you.
If you’d like to learn more about nonsurgical treatments for compressed nerves, book an appointment today. We have three convenient locations, and you can call 833-774-6327 to schedule an appointment at the one that works for you, or request an appointment online.