Neck & Back Pinched Nerve Treatment in Boston, MA
What is a Pinched Nerve?
A “pinched nerve” is a term used to describe damage or injury to a nerve. This can be caused by compression, constriction, or stretching of the nerve, and is very common in the neck and lower back. If a disc in the spine weakens or tears, called a herniated disc, it can cause compression on a spinal nerve.
Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve
You may experience warning signs that you have a pinched nerve. If you have these symptoms, schedule an appointment to diagnose and treat the nerve compression accordingly.
- Pain in the area of the damaged nerve
- Numbness or tingling
- A sensation of pins and needles
- Muscle weakness
If you have these symptoms, your doctor may perform a nerve conduction study, an EMG (electromyography), or an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to see if and where you have damaged nerves. This will help your doctor determine the best treatment plan for you.
Treatment for Nerve Compression
If nerve compression isn’t treated, it can cause other problems due to swelling, pressure, and scarring.
Can a Pinched Nerve Go Away on its Own?
Sometimes a pinched nerve will go away on its own, but if the symptoms do not go away within a few weeks, treatment may be necessary.
Medication for Pinched Nerves
Over-the-counter or prescription medications may be recommended to help reduce the swelling and ease pain. Medicine can include NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), oral corticosteroids, or narcotics.
Injections for Pinched Nerves
Steroid injections are commonly used to treat a herniated disc, because they provide pain relief and calm inflammation right at the nerve root. An epidural steroid injection is an outpatient treatment that usually takes effect within 2-3 days.
Surgery for Pinched Nerves
Depending on the cause of the nerve compression and severity of the symptoms, surgery may be needed. Your doctor may also recommend surgery after other treatments have been attempted.
- Laminotomy or Laminectomy: Partial or complete removal of the lamina. This procedure removes bone from the lower spine to relive pressure on the compressed nerve.
- Discectomy: Removing part of a herniated disc. This will relieve pressure on the nerve that is causing symptoms of pain, numbness, or weakness.