What are the Treatment Options for a Pinched Nerve?
Unless there is imminent danger that may cause permanent damage to your nerves function, initial treatment for a pinched nerve should not involve surgery. If you are still feeling considerable pain or other symptoms after you have attempted conservative treatments, surgery to correct the underlying issue that is compressing the nerve may be an option.
Initial treatment should consist of rest, ice packs, and non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, also termed NSAIDS. Most often a pinched nerve is being caused by inflammation compressing a nearby nerve; if you cure the inflammation, you should free the nerve.
Further treatment will include applying heat to the injury (at least 48-72 hours after it occurs) to stimulate blood flow to the area and encourage healing. Immobilizing the area with a brace can help to insure that movement does no further damage, but it is important to note that prolonged bracing could weaken muscles leading to further complications.
Stronger prescription medication may be required in some cases to better relieve inflammation or control pain with narcotics. Pain narcotics are not a permanent solutions to back problems as they only mask the underlying issue.
Additionally, physical therapy in combination with other pinched nerve remedies can assist to stretch and strengthen specific muscles in the body. Stretching and core muscle strengthening are pivotal in relieving pressure and maintaining proper spinal alignment. A physical therapist may also recommend activity modifications as part of your pinched nerve treatments to help you avoid painful motions.
When to Consider Surgery for a Pinched Nerve
If 6-8 weeks of treatment has failed to provide you with satisfactory results, surgery to correct an underlying condition compressing a nerve may be an option. The goals of a pinched nerve operation are to relieve the compression and to give the pinched nerve more room to function.
Surgery for a pinched nerve in the spine, however, is generally reserved for patients whose quality of life has been greatly affected. The type of pinched nerve surgery that suits you best is dependent on the location of the affected nerve and what condition is causing it.
How Is a Pinched Nerve Operation Performed?
Pinched nerve surgery can be done with an open procedure, meaning the surgeon cuts open the skin and muscles to gain access to your spine, or it can be performed in a less invasive way.
With our revolutionary techniques, pinched nerve surgery may be performed using an endoscope, meaning we make a small incision to insert special surgical tools that increase the accuracy of the surgery. During an endoscopic procedure, there is no need to cut or tear the muscles.
Procedures such as an endoscopic discectomy or an endoscopic foraminotomy are minimally invasive, and have lower complication rates than traditional open spine procedures. Our same-day surgery allows patients to recover quickly and get back to normal daily life without pain.
If you are experiencing pinched nerve symptoms, we encourage you to speak with one of our physicians about your condition. We’ll work with you to explore all treatment options and help you choose a treatment that suits you best.