When tissues that surround a nerve apply too much pressure, the result is a pinched nerve, which can result in pain, tingling, numbness, and other symptoms.
There are many reasons why nerves can become compressed. For example, if you feel pain in your lower back, it could be due to a slipped disc that’s pushing against a nerve. Or if you work a job that involves a lot of repetitive movements, you could put too much stress on your tissues and cause your nerves to become compressed.
At Premier Spine Institute in The Woodlands, Humble, and Baytown, Texas, orthopedic surgeon Bonaventure Ngu, MD, has treated many patients with pinched nerves. In this blog, Dr. Ngu explains what could be causing your symptoms and how you can find relief.
Pinched nerves 101
Nerves can get pinched or compressed in many areas of your body, including your neck, back, elbows, and wrists.
If you have a pinched nerve in your back, you may experience stiffness and pain that radiates to your shoulders. A pinched nerve in your lower back may cause pain that radiates to your hips and legs.
Nerves often become pinched due to herniated discs, inflamed muscles and tendons, bone spurs, and scar tissue.
In most cases, pinched nerves go away on their own after a few days and can be treated with over-the-counter medications and rest. However, if the symptoms persist, consider seeing a medical specialist.
Reducing the chances of pinching a nerve
Nerves become pinched and painful due to compression. You can avoid this by doing the following:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Avoiding sports with repetitive movements
- Controlling inflammation in the body
- Alternating between sitting down and standing up
Certain conditions, such as diabetes, can also increase your likelihood of developing a pinched nerve. Therefore, the better control you have over your blood sugar levels, the less your chances will be of getting a pinched nerve.
Treating pinched nerves
There are many reasons why your nerves could be compressed. Dr. Ngu will perform a physical and look at your medical history to get a better understanding of what could be causing your symptoms. He may also use an X-Ray or other imaging techniques to determine what tissues are pressing on your nerves.
Depending on your diagnosis, he may recommend taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, oral corticosteroids, physical therapy, or epidural injections. If a herniated disc is compressing your nerve, he may recommend removing the problematic disc and replacing it with an artificial one.
If you’re suffering from a pinched nerve and the symptoms aren’t going away with rest, Dr. Ngu can help. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Premier Spine Institute today.