Pinched Nerve

Nerves form the basis for the connection between brain and body. Sensory information is relayed to the brain, and motor information is relayed back to the rest of the body. When a nerve becomes compressed due to any number of factors, this communication is impaired, leading to numbness, weakness, and sometimes pain.

CONDITIONS EXPLAINEDPinched Nerve

CONDITIONS EXPLAINEDPinched Nerve

Nerves form the basis for the connection between brain and body. Sensory information is relayed to the brain, and motor information is relayed back to the rest of the body. When a nerve becomes compressed due to any number of factors, this communication is impaired, leading to numbness, weakness, and sometimes pain. This condition is referred to as radiculopathy or a pinched nerve, and sciatica is one common example affecting one or both of the sciatic nerves of the lower extremities.

Along the course of the spinal cord through the vertebral column, nerve roots exit at each level through small openings called foramina to innervate peripheral structures. Symptoms will vary depending on the level that is affected. Cervical radiculopathy can lead to weakness, numbness, and pain of the upper limbs, while lumbar radiculopathy affects the lower extremities. Many nearby structures can compress these nerves, and commonly bulging intervertebral discs or bone spurs secondary to arthritis are the culprits.

https://mdashishpatel.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/pinched-nerve-in-the-spinal-cord.jpg

Nerves form the basis for the connection between brain and body. Sensory information is relayed to the brain, and motor information is relayed back to the rest of the body. When a nerve becomes compressed due to any number of factors, this communication is impaired, leading to numbness, weakness, and sometimes pain. This condition is referred to as radiculopathy or a pinched nerve, and sciatica is one common example affecting one or both of the sciatic nerves of the lower extremities.

Along the course of the spinal cord through the vertebral column, nerve roots exit at each level through small openings called foramina to innervate peripheral structures. Symptoms will vary depending on the level that is affected. Cervical radiculopathy can lead to weakness, numbness, and pain of the upper limbs, while lumbar radiculopathy affects the lower extremities. Many nearby structures can compress these nerves, and commonly bulging intervertebral discs or bone spurs secondary to arthritis are the culprits.

https://mdashishpatel.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/pinched-nerve-in-the-spinal-cord.jpg

Experiencing Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve?

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Detection & Diagnosis

Diagnosis is generally fairly easy to make for this common condition, but diagnostics that may be involved in your work-up may include:

Physical Examination
A Thorough Physical Examination - Diagnosis can typically be made on detailed examination alone.
X-Ray
Routinely used for its rapid, inexpensive results, x-rays provide great overall visualization of the bone anatomy, and can help identify arthritis.
MRI
More sensitive to soft tissues, magnetic resonance imaging is the modality of choice for visualizing nerves and connective tissues, such as the intervertebral discs.
CT Scan
In Computed Tomography, x-rays are taken rotationally and a computer generates a three-dimensional rendering from the two-dimensional slices. This can be enhanced with contrast, called a myelogram, to further visualize the spinal cord and nerves, as well as possible tumors.

OUTCOMESRelated
Treatments & Procedures

Patients with a pinched nerve usually respond well to conservative treatments and don’t require surgery. Some of the most commonly recommended therapies include:

  • Lifestyle changes such as exercise and weight loss 
  • Physical therapy, in which special stretches may reduce pain and aid in recovery, and better motions for commonly problematic tasks may be taught to prevent exacerbation of existing problems. In addition, strengthening core muscles helps to compensate for spinal insufficiency. 
  • Several pharmacological treatments exist for the treatment of spinal stenosis, including the use of NSAIDs such as aspirin or ibuprofen, steroids for long term relief, and stronger narcotics for pain that does not respond to existing pain management. In the case of steroids, an injection is typically made at the level of the stenotic structure, limiting inflammation for months at a time and allowing time for recovery.

Generally, so long as patient quality of life is satisfactory, surgery is simply unnecessary. In some cases, though, surgery has the potential to significantly improve a patient’s condition. Some such indications are:

  • Severe weakness of the legs
  • Severe and progressive pain
  • Ineffective conservative therapies
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control, a medical emergency known as cauda equina syndrome
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Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF) is a procedure performed from the anterior to fuse vertebrae into a single structure. This technique is usually favored when..

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Artificial Disc Replacement

Artificial disc replacement is a procedure with the goal of removing a painful intervertebral disc and replacing it with a prosthetic one. Spinal fusion is much more commonly performed..

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Decompression (Laminectomy)

Decompression Lumbar Laminectomy is the most common surgical procedure performed for the correction of stenosis in the back. The surgeon will remove or trim the bony lamina and a thick ligament..

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