A pinched nerve refers to an injured or damaged nerve. It occurs when excess pressure is applied to your nerve roots by surrounding tissues like bones, muscles, or tendons. Pain, numbness, and tingling are the main symptoms of a pinched nerve. A pinched nerve can be acute or chronic. Chronic pinched nerves can lead to severe problems like peripheral nerve damage, which may require neurosurgery treatment.Dr. Kristopher Downing La Jolla asserts that Nerve damage can affect the ability of your brain to communicate with your muscles or organs. Early treatment of pinched nerves can help prevent severe conditions in the future.
Some conditions can make tissue or bone compress your nerves, causing symptoms. These conditions include:
Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis causes joint inflammation which may pressure neighboring nerves causing damage.
Aging: As you age, your spine and discs wear and tear. Over a prolonged period, your spinal discs may lose water content leading to flattening. The bones in your spinal cord move close together, leading to the formation of bone growths in your body. These bone growths compress nerve causing injury.
Injuries: Sudden injuries from physical activities or accidents can cause a pinched nerve. Awkward lifting, pulling, or twisting movements can also result in a pinched nerve.
Repetitive motion: Repetitive motion duties such as long periods of playing a keyboard can lead to stress in your wrist or hand. Recurrent action can cause inflammation of the tendon, exacting pressure on the median nerve in your arm.
Obesity: Excess weight can cause swelling of your nerve pathway, exacting pressure on your nerves.
Pregnancy: The extra weight during pregnancy can compress your nerves.
Diabetes: If you have diabetes, high sugar levels in your blood may damage your nerves.
There are many pinched nerves treatments, which include:
Time and rest: Sometimes, a pinched nerve does not need medical attention. Taking time to rest from activities leading to the condition will help relieve pain in a few days or weeks.
Ice and heat: Applying ice and heat on the affected area help relieve pain and swelling.
Over-the-counter pain relievers: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen help reduce pain. Acetaminophen also helps relieve pain.
Splints and cervical collars: Your doctor can advise you to wear a hand splint or neck collar to limit motion for effective healing.
Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids can be taken as tablets or through injections. They are potent anti-inflammatories that help to relieve pain.
Physical therapy: Simple exercises and stretches can help to ease pressure and pain in your nerves. Your doctor will advise you on the activities fit for your pinched nerve.
Surgery: Your doctor will use surgery for treatment when the non-surgical treatments have not worked. You can take several months to recover after surgery. Specific exercises under the guidance of your specialist can help improve the results of the surgery. Exercises strengthen your muscles and improve overall body health.
Although you cannot prevent all causes of a pinched nerve, you can lower the risks of having the condition by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising to stretch muscles, and taking breaks from recurrent motions. Schedule an appointment with Upper Extremity Specialists, to get pinched nerve treatment from a qualified and highly-experienced neurosurgeon.