Pinched Nerves

04/30/2012
 

Pinched NervesPinched nerves are defined as impaired function with elevated pressure applied by damaged tissues of surrounding bones, muscles or tendons. It is a condition that affects millions of individuals annually. Pinched nerves disrupt daily function and normal movement, causing mild to chronic pain, tingling, numbness and weakness. Often stemming from excessive compression, constriction or stretching, pinched nerves affect many areas of the body, however are common in back pains along the lateral area of the spine. Often associated with carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow, severe pinched nerves cases often require surgery for alleviation of increased pressure on nerves and nerve endings.

Causes of Pinched Nerves

Causes of pinched nerves vary from individual to individual. Often a reported case of work-related injury, a pinched nerve may be a result of blunt force trauma from auto accidents, herniated discs, arthritis and aging. Interrupted normal nerve signals are dramatically amplified by pinched nerves, often producing an increased discomfort level and heightened pain levels. Repetitive motion in the work place over prolonged periods of time or joint diseases may also cause pinched nerves. Athletes often suffer from pinched nerves in necks and shoulder areas due to over-stretching and exertion causing inflamed muscles adding more pressure to ligaments.

Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve

Symptoms of pinched nerves may initially appear as soreness or tenderness, commonly associated with daily activities. With progression of time and remaining untreated, symptoms of pinched nerves quickly escalate to:

•    Numbness or decreased sensation of feeling.
•    Sharp or burning pain with outward radiation.
•    Tingling, “pins and needles” sensations.
•    Muscle weakness or twitching.
•    Frequent feeling “falling asleep” sensation of the affected area.
•    Noticeable reduction in movement.
•    Increasing stiffness.
•    Painful muscle spasms.

Without proper medical diagnosis and treatment, the extent of damage to pinched nerves may become permanent with life altering continual complications.

Treatment Options for Pinched Nerves

Treatment for pinched nerves often involved resting of the affected area with complete immobilization. Splints or braces are often used in cases of carpal tunnel syndrome to reduce flexing of the wrist while sleeping. In less severe cases of pinched nerves, physical therapy and anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed such as ibuprofen or naproxen.  Corticosteroid injections may be given weekly or as needed to help minimize pain when prescribed medications do not improve overall conditions in an allotted time frame.

Preferred Spine & Rehab also offers relief from pinched nerves for residents of Fairview Heights, Swansea, O'Fallon, Belleville, Shiloh, Collinsville, and the surrounding Metro East Illinois communities. As a last resort, surgery in combination with conservative post-surgery treatments may be required when all other alternatives have been exhausted.

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