Your spine plays many roles in terms of support and mobility, but it also provides passage for your peripheral nervous system, which can be made abundantly clear when one of the nerves is compromised. Also called a pinched nerve, which describes the problem perfectly, this occurrence can lead to debilitating pain that places moderate-to-severe limitations on your ability to move freely.
Luckily, there are many roads back to pain-free movement and we’re here to help. Dr. Michael Ware Hennessey and our team of spine experts here at Texas Spine Consultants recognize the many conditions that can lead to a pinched nerve, and we understand how to remedy the problem.
In the following, we explore your treatment options for pinched nerves, which includes many steps you can take on your own.
The evolution of a pinched nerve
As we explained, your spine is the conduit between your central nervous system and your body, which means that there are a large number of nerves that branch out from your spine. When something goes wrong along your spine, it can irritate the highly sensitive nerve roots, which can lead to both localized symptoms, as well as referred symptoms in your extremities.
As an example, let’s take a look at one of the more common problems that involves a pinched nerve — sciatica. Your sciatic nerve is the longest in your body and it starts in your lower back. From there, it branches out and travels down the backs of each buttock and leg, all the way to your feet.
If this nerve is compressed, usually due to a herniated disc, you can experience local pain, as well as leg pain. In addition to the pain, you may experience numbness and tingling, as well as muscle weakness. This same problem can occur in your neck, leading to symptoms that travel down your arms, which is also called cervical radiculopathy.
While we just mentioned a herniated or bulging disc as one of the primary drivers of a pinched nerve, this problem can also develop because of:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spinal stenosis
- Bone spurs
Given this wide range of potential causes, it’s important that we first pinpoint the problem before we get started on a treatment.
Treating your pinched nerve
Once we have a clear idea of what’s causing your pinched nerve, we can get you on the road to relief through:
- Medications, including non-steroidal antiinflammatories
- Physical therapy
- Steroid injections
- Radiofrequency ablation
- Nerve blocks
- Osteopathic manipulation
These frontline treatments are often enough to do the trick, but there are cases when we may recommend surgery, especially if there’s structural damage in your spine.
While our treatments are designed to make you more comfortable and to reduce the inflammation that’s pressing up against your nerve, there’s much you can do on your own, including:
- Hot and cold therapies
- Stretching exercises
As you can see, between your efforts at home and our treatments, we can help you recover from a pinched nerve more quickly.
If you’re suffering from a pinched nerve, contact one of our locations in Addison or Plano, Texas, to set up an appointment.