What Is A Pinched Nerve


The question of what is a pinched nerve can be explained by the symptoms, which include localized pain, sometimes radiating downwards, numbness, tingling in the legs, and weakness in the muscles according to this article. The pain can be debilitating while sleeping and in case of pinched nerve in the neck, the pain may radiate into the shoulders and arms. Treatment for a pinched nerve include hot and cold applications, rest, massage, light exercises, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, electric stimulation, and Corticosteroid injections.
If surgery is required, there can be invasive surgery involving incision and non-invasive surgery through an endoscope, which needs no cutting or stitching. A herniated disc, Osteoarthritis, inflamed tissues, or the formation of bone spurs can cause a pinched nerve. Diagnosis of a pinched nerve includes Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Electromyography. You can prevent pinched nerves by maintaining proper posture, doing flexibility exercises, maintaining healthy weight and restrain from repetitive activities.



What Is A Pinched Nerve

The term pinched nerve describes one type of damage or injury to a nerve or set of nerves. The injury may result from compression, constriction, or stretching.

“A pinched nerve is compression on one of the delicate spinal nerves that branch off the spinal cord and travel to other parts of the body,” says Kaixuan Liu, M.D., Ph.D., spine surgeon and founder of Atlantic Spine Center in Edison, New Jersey. “Symptoms can include local or radiating pain, numbness, tingling and muscle weakness.” These may worsen while sleeping and be felt far from the point of pressure; for instance, a pinched, or compressed nerve in the lower back may produce symptoms in the calf. With a pinched nerve in the neck, pain is often described as sharp and may radiate into the shoulder and arm.


Tips for treating a pinched nerve.

Initial treatment may include rest, massage, hot/cold therapy, mild exercise, anti-inflammatory or prescription medications, and electrical stimulation. If this treatment is not effective, your physician may prescribe corticosteroid injections. Other options include soft collars, physical therapy, anti-inflammatories or oral steroids.


If it doesn’t improve after several weeks to a few months, surgery may be necessary to relieve the pressure and to give the compressed nerve more room to function. The type of surgery varies depending on the location of the pinched nerve and the condition causing it. A pinched nerve in the back may require removing bone spurs that are putting pressure on the nerve or trimming the offending portion of the bulging or herniated disc. “Surgery can be performed as an open procedure where the surgeon cuts open the skin and muscles to gain access to the spine,” says Dr. Liu. “Or it can be performed using an endoscope, which is minimally invasive and has a lower complication rate. During an endoscopic procedure, there is no need to cut or tear the muscles because a small incision is made to insert special surgical tools.”


What causes a pinched nerve?

A pinched nerve in the back is often caused by a herniated disc, the formation of bone spurs with osteoarthritis, or inflamed tissue, all of which can impinge on the spinal canal and press on a nerve root or the spinal cord. As a result, it cannot properly transmit electrical signals to its peripheral nerves, causing pain, tingling and numbness in the area where the nerve root leads. Similarly, a pinched nerve in the neck can be attributed to overuse, strain, extra body weight, scar tissue, cysts, tumors, poor posture, or osteoarthritis.


How is it diagnosed?

Tests include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or nerve conduction study, where patch-style electrodes are placed on the skin to stimulate the nerve with a mild electrical impulse. Another test is electromyography, which measures the electrical discharges produced in muscles.


How can I prevent nerve compression?

Maintaining good posture, incorporating strength and flexibility exercises, and keeping a healthy weight are some of the best ways you can avoid a nerve becoming pinched or compressed. People should also limit repetitive activities and take frequent breaks when engaging in these activities.


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Localized pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness are some of the striking symptoms of a pinched nerve. Most of us are ignorant about what is a pinched nerve and often tend to ignore it. While conservative treatment can bring relief, in extreme cases, surgery may be needed. An MRI scan and Electromyography are the procedures through which a pinched nerve will be diagnosed. To keep away from this, maintain good posture, take to strengthening exercises, lose excess weight, and abstain from repetitive activities, which do not include work.



Learn what a pinched nerve is, so that you can seek treatment for this painful condition if necessary. Here is more information on a pinched nerve, including symptoms and treatment options. By Dr. Robert Fenell founder of Hand and FootClinicofAmerica.com i




Joseph Carfi, MD of Panetta Physical Therapy, discusses various treatment options for pinched nerves




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