Pinched Nerve

A pinched nerve happens when a spinal nerve becomes compressed by pressure due to a correlated condition or physical trauma. When this happens, the normal functioning of nerves becomes interrupted and sends pain signals into the brain. Some common symptoms of a pinched nerve include tingling, numbness, and weakness. 

Pain inflicted by a pinched nerve in the lumbar area can severely hinder regular activities and limit mobility. It's crucial to first identify the root cause or correlated condition for a pinched nerve in order to start a nerve regeneration or pain management procedure. Timely intervention and treatment can prevent possible complications and help restore spinal health. 

What causes a pinched nerve?

Pinched nerves can have multiple causes and often appear alongside other back and neck conditions. These could include intervertebral disc disorders like a herniated disc or spondylolisthesis or related to an increase in spinal pressure, as in spinal stenosis.

Other factors like infections, tumors, or physical trauma could also contribute to developing a pinched nerve.

What are the symptoms of a pinched nerve?

The most common symptoms of a pinched nerve may include: 

  • Radiating or sharp pain in the affected lumbar area ranging from mild to severe intensity
  • Loss of sensation in the spine along with tingling
  • Appearance of muscle weakness due to nerve compression
  • Sensory changes perceived as a hypersensitivity to touch in the affected area

How is a pinched nerve diagnosed?

To diagnose a pinched nerve, your doctor will follow the next steps:

Family History Examination

Hereditary factors could severely contribute to the development of a degenerative condition like cervical facet joint arthritis.

Physical Examination

If no genetic disorders are identified, your doctor will continue with a physical examination of your lower back and legs.

Imaging Studies

X-rays, MRIs, and CT Scans will help visualize any damage in the spine that wasn’t noticed during the physical examination. 

Diagnostic Nerve Blocks

These involve a temporary numbing of nerves that are in charge of sending pain signals into the brain. Diagnostic Nerve blocks are performed to determine the specific cause of pain in the lumbar region. 

What are the best treatment options for a pinched nerve?

Once the root cause for the pinched nerve is identified, procedures may range from conservative therapies to injections and minimally invasive interventions.

A. Conservative Therapies

Non-invasive procedures use physical therapy or exercises to alleviate pain symptoms. These can be used along with other minimally invasive intervention options or non-opioid medication:

  • Massage therapy: This therapy focuses on areas that are causing pain and discomfort, releasing pain and pressure from the lumbar area.
  • Acupuncture: This type of conservative therapy uses needles to focus on pressure points, helping with the nerves that send pain signals into the brain.
  • Chiropractic care: This kind of therapy uses manual techniques to align the spine.

B. Lifestyle Changes

In addition to physical therapy, various lifestyle modifications can help patients alleviate symptoms caused by a pinched nerve. Performing low-impact exercises like cycling, walking, and swimming can tremendously help to strengthen the muscles around the spine and add flexibility to the lumbar area.

Using an ergonomic chair and keeping the monitor at an eye level can help keep a good posture, reducing pressure and pain in the lumbar area.

It is also important to consider that keeping a healthy weight can significantly improve the state of the spine. Having excess weight could cause an increase in the pressure applied to the spinal nerves, leading to pain in the back and legs. Eating healthy and cutting on heavy drinking or smoking also contribute to having good spinal health.

C. Non-Opioid Medications

Non-opioid medication significantly reduces the risk of addiction and has fewer side effects. They are also less likely to cause drowsiness or impaired driving conditions.

It is recommended to be used in combination with other treatments, such as physical therapy or chiropractic care.

D. Injections

Some of the injections recommended to treat a pinched nerve include steroid injections. These may be injected near the spinal nerve area, blocking the transmission of pain signals. Additionally, facet joint injections, which target the joints located on the vertebra causing nerve compression, may also be used.

E. Pain Management

Pain management focuses on reducing pain caused by multiple spinal disorders. For a pinched nerve, some of these techniques may include using electrical or radio stimulation:

  • Radiofrequency ablation uses radio waves heat to help reduce nerve irritation.
  • Nerve blocks interrupt the transmission of pain signals from the nerves to the brain. 
  • Spinal cord stimulation uses electrical impulses to modify the nerve activity in the spine. As the nerve signals become blocked by this stimulation, the pain won’t be felt even though the symptom source remains.

F. Neuromodulation

Using nerve stimulation, neuromodulation can help reduce the lumbar stress caused by a pinched nerve. Some of these types of treatments include the following options:

  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) involves the usage of low-voltage electrical currents to disrupt the transmission of pain signals. 
  • Peripheral nerve stimulation uses electrical stimulation to target peripheral nerves around the spinal cord. 

G. Minimally Invasive Interventions

Compared to surgical procedures, minimally invasive interventions reduce the risk of complications and are outpatient treatments. When patients undergo these treatments, there is no need for complete anesthesia, and their recovery process is a lot faster.

The best minimally invasive interventions to treat a pinched nerve include:

  • Microdiscectomy: This procedure involves removing a portion of the damaged disc that is causing pressure on the spinal nerves, relieving pressure and alleviating pain.
  • Laminectomy: This procedure partially removes the lamina (the arch in the vertebra) to release pressure and reduce pain.
  • Foraminotomy: During this procedure, a small incision is made to remove bone tissue that is causing nerve compression partially.

Treatment for Pinched Nerve in Tualatin and Newberg in Oregon

At the Spinal Diagnostics clinic, we focus on spinal and neuropathic pain management. Our team of specialists are recognized leaders in clinical research and will provide you with an updated diagnostic process and treatment options.

We have dedicated our practice to improving our patient’s quality of life without using opiate medications or traditional spine surgery. Over ten years of experience makes us the top choice for those dealing with back and neck pain.

If you want to learn more about our services, call us, schedule an appointment online, or visit our locations in Tualatin and Newberg in Oregon.

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