What is a pinched nerve?
Pinched nerve is a common term used to describe a “compression” on a nerve. Compression often occurs when the nerve is pressed between tissue such as, ligaments, tendons or bones.
Pinched nerves can be anywhere on the body and can include nerve roots in the spine. Nerve roots in the spine can become compressed due to disc degeneration or herniation for example. Increased pressure and inflammation on the nerve can cause pain. Depending on which nerves roots are being compressed within the spine pain can radiate (travel) through the neck and shoulders (cervical radiculopathy) or in the lower back down through the leg to the foot (lumbar radiculopathy or sciatic nerve pain).
Damage caused by a pinched nerve can range from minor to very severe. Thus it is important not to ignore the early pain signals. The earlier you seek a diagnosis and treatment for a pinched nerve the less likely you are to have long-term nerve damage.
If left untreated not only is pain likely to persist but long term compression of a nerve can lead to a break-down of protective fluids that help repair physicial damage which can cause swelling and/or scarring. Ultimately scarring can lead to a loss of nerve function.
What are the signs of a pinched nerve?
- Pain in the area of compression
- Pain travelling (radiating) down arms or legs
- Numbness, tingling or “pins and needles” sensation
What can an interventional pain management specialist do?
- Diagnose the source of your pain, determine it’s severity and,
- Offer therapeutic treatments to:
- reduce pain,
- improve range of motion,
- prevent worsening of your condition and,
- Develop a treatment plan to help you regain strength and return to your activities.