Pinched Nerve: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments in Germantown, PA
You shouldn’t worry too much about the occasional pinched nerve, as it could be due to poor posture or repetitive work. However, you should definitely see a nerve specialist if the symptoms last several days and cause debilitating pain that doesn’t remedy with conservative treatments, such as pain medication or rest. Since a pinched nerve can occur anywhere throughout the body, its location determines the symptoms and problems associated with it.
For example, if a pinched nerve is in your wrist, you will experience pain and numbness in your hand and fingers. Whenever it puts pressure on a nerve root in the lower spine, you’ll have pain that radiates down the back of your leg. Understanding this condition and available treatments can help you take proactive steps toward finding relief from pinched nerves. Our team at NJ Spine & Orthopedic can help evaluate your medical records to determine the best treatment plan for your pinched nerve.
What is a Pinched Nerve?
You may have heard of conditions like carpal tunnel, sciatica, or someone complaining about a “crick in their neck.” These are all variations of a pinched nerve that can occur in the neck, back, shoulders, arms, or legs. While anyone can have this condition, individuals aged 50 and above are more susceptible due to joint diseases like arthritis and degeneration in the spine or other body parts.
When too much pressure is placed on a nerve by muscles, tendons, or bones, it can cause a pinched nerve. This compression interferes with the nerve’s regular function and causes discomfort, tingling, weakness, or numbness in the impacted area. If you’re a Germantown, PA resident, our specialists at NJ Spine & Orthopedic can help, as a pinched nerve can lead to further complications and chronic pain if left unaddressed.
Common Causes and Symptoms of Pinched Nerve
Pinched nerves can have various underlying causes, including herniated discs, spinal stenosis, repetitive movements, and poor posture or injury. A herniated disc, also known as a slipped or ruptured disc, can progress due to age-related wear and tear or damage to the spine and cause pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness.
Because spinal stenosis causes a narrowing of the spinal canal emanating from bone spurs, thickened ligaments, or herniated discs, it can put pressure on the spinal cord or nerves passing through the canal. Symptoms may include pain, numbness, weakness, and cramping in the affected areas, which may worsen with activity or specific positions.
Engaging in repetitive movements or maintaining poor posture for extended periods puts undue stress on the spine and surrounding structures, including nerves. Slouching or hunching forward can lead to misalignment of the spine (hyperlordosis), which may cause nerve compression, irritation, and chronic pain in the affected areas over time.
Common signs of a pinched nerve include a sensation of pins and needles, often accompanied by numbness. Reduced muscle strength and difficulty performing certain movements may also be present. Sensory changes, such as heightened sensitivity or loss of feeling, can occur in the affected area. Most people also experience sharp or dull pain that radiates from the impacted region along the pathway of the affected nerve.
Treatment Options for Pinched Nerve
Addressing radiculopathy begins with a physical examination and using imaging tools like X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans to identify any structural issues or abnormalities that might be causing the nerve compression. Electromyography (EMG) and Nerve Conduction Studies (NCS) tests measure the electrical activity of muscles and the speed of nerve signals to determine the extent of damage and identify the specific nerves affected by compression.
Once a diagnosis is made, conservative treatment options such as rest, physical therapy, pain medications, and anti-inflammatory drugs can be recommended. Other interventions, like epidural injections or minimally invasive surgical techniques, may also be considered to relieve more intensive nerve pressure.
A local anesthetic and corticosteroid combination is injected into the epidural space around the spinal cord and nerve roots. The corticosteroid component of the epidural injection acts as an anti-inflammatory agent that decreases inflammation around the compressed nerve roots.
Nerve specialists will often use a local anesthetic to numb the nerves temporarily and provide immediate pain relief. By reducing inflammation and pressure on the pinched nerve, the body’s natural healing processes can take place more effectively. This leads to a gradual improvement in symptoms.
Minimally Invasive Surgeries
The techniques used to treat pinched nerves often include either an endoscopic discectomy, laminoforaminotomy, or an endoscopic foraminoplasty. A neurosurgeon will perform an endoscopic discectomy to eliminate the pain caused by a pinched nerve, either in the lower back, legs, mid-back, neck, or arms.
In this case, a laminoforaminotomy can be performed from the back of the neck to remove a small portion of the lamina (a part of the vertebral arch) and decompress the affected nerve root. Also, during an endoscopic foraminoplasty, a surgeon inserts an endoscope through a small incision to remove or reshape any bone or tissue compressing the sensitive nerve.
Get Specialized Pinched Nerve Treatments at NJ Spine & Orthopedic in Germantown, PA Today
If you’re experiencing symptoms of a pinched nerve, consult a qualified neurosurgeon or orthopedic spine specialist. They can evaluate your condition, recommend appropriate diagnostic tests, and advise you on the best treatment plan based on your needs.
At NJ Spine & Orthopedic, we offer cutting-edge technology and minimally invasive procedures to ensure faster recovery times and optimal patient outcomes. Our Concierge Team can also help coordinate your treatment to make your experience easier. Call (866) 553-0612 or complete our online contact form to receive an expert diagnosis and treatment.