Pinched Nerve Q&A
What is a pinched nerve?
When too much pressure is applied to a nerve or set of nerves by surrounding tissues, the nerve’s function is affected and can result in pain, weakness, or tingling. A pinched nerve may be a result of compression, constriction, or stretching.
A pinched nerve can occur at various sites in the body, most commonly in the back. The sciatic nerve begins on each side of your lower spine and runs deep inside your buttocks, through your legs, and ends in your feet. These nerves are the largest single nerves in your entire body and connect your spinal cord with the muscles in your feet and legs.
What are the symptoms of a pinched nerve?
- Radiating pain, such as sciatica
- Numbness or limited sensation in the area by the nerve
- Sharp pain which may emit outward from the pain site
- Pins and needles sensation
- Sensation that a body part has “fallen asleep”
- Muscle weakness in the affected area
In most cases, a pinched nerve is easy for Dr. Lloydine Jacobs to diagnose because the pain you’re experiencing radiates along the path of your nerve. Ignoring these symptoms can result in irreversible nerve damage and permanent injury if untreated.
What causes pinched nerve symptoms?
You can develop a pinched nerve for a variety of reasons, including spinal issues like a herniated disc where a spinal disc compresses the nerve root. Symptoms can arise from holding your body in one position for extended period of time, such as keeping elbows bent while sleeping. Other causes include repetitive motion of one body part leading to pressure on a nerve. Some symptoms can worsen with certain motions, such as turning your head or straining your neck.
Other factors that increase your risk of pinched nerve include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Sports activities
- Physical hobbies
- Repetitive motion
Common pinched nerve treatments include:
- Prescriptions like muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatories, and pain relievers
- Hot and cold compresses
- Massage therapy, spinal manipulation, and physical therapy
- Steroid injections or nerve blocks
- Regenerative spine and joint injections
- Minimally invasive spinal surgery
How is a pinched nerve diagnosed and treated?
To treat your pinched nerve, Dr. Lloydine Jacobs conducts a full physical examination to identify the cause of your pain. Based on your diagnosis, she creates a personalized approach to relieve your symptoms and reduce your inflammation.
Depending on the severity, Dr. Lloydine Jacobs may recommend ultra-minimally invasive surgery. If untreated the pressure can continue, and chronic pain or permanent nerve damage can occur. Dr. Lloydine Jacobs approaches these conditions with preventative treatment to avoid major injury or surgery.
In addition to medical treatments for a pinched nerve, Dr. Lloydine Jacobs might also recommend lifestyle changes designed to improve your posture and body mechanics, nutritional counseling for weight management, and/or more physical activity to improve your back health.