Spinal Nerve Compression: When to Seek Medical Consultation
Housed within the spinal canal, the spinal nerves provide sensation to most of the body. Generally, compressed spinal nerves happen as a result of age-related degeneration of the spinal discs (the shock-absorbing pads between our vertebrae). As we grow older, spinal discs become thinner, harder, and less pliable, reducing their ability to absorb the stresses of everyday movement. Spinal nerves may also be compressed through serious trauma, such as improper lifting techniques or accidents.
Back pain related to spinal nerve compression is generally quite sharp and significantly reduces mobility in patients. Immediate treatment options include over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which often reduce pain levels enough for the patient to explore other options for treatment. Physical therapy or treatment by a chiropractor represent both a short-term and long-term solution, as strong muscles in the torso and along the spinal column will assist spinal discs in bearing the body’s stresses. This in turn will reduce the incidence of compressed spinal nerves.
Occasionally, more conservative treatments like physical therapy or treatment by a chiropractor and pain medication aren’t enough to treat a patient’s nerve-related back pain. When a patient experiences muscle weakness along with nerve pain, it’s time to explore other treatment options. Physicians will likely order imaging exams (magnetic resonance imaging, x-rays) to confirm that spinal nerves are being compressed, as well as what the offending structure (e.g. bone spur) might be. After thorough analysis, physicians can then make recommendations on augmenting physical therapy or treatment by a chiropractor to better suit the patient’s pain levels or explore other options entirely. Major back surgery may be necessary to mechanically decompress the offending nerves or to remove the obstruction responsible for compression.
If patients are regularly experiencing compressed spinal nerves outside the context of heavy lifting, see your doctor. Provide detailed, truthful information regarding your work history, lifestyle, and exercise habits. Be sure to account for any recreational activities that may also have been responsible, as the physician can only make an accurate prescription for course of treatment if he or she has all the relevant information. Combined with the results of your imaging exams, physicians will then direct your course of treatment according to the severity of the nerve compression. Back surgery or surgery for herniated disc may be an option, but it is possible that more conservative treatments will mediate your back pain to the point where more extensive treatment will not be needed. It is advised that you immediately contact your physician if your pain becomes sharper and more constant, or if you experience muscle weakness or loss of bladder control. All of these issues can indicate impending nerve damage.
Neurosurgeons at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) in Houston, TX have significant experiencing treating pain and nerve compression. When conservative measures fail, or if otherwise indicated, the latest techniques in minimally invasive spine surgery are used to help relieve pain.
The Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) in Houston TX cares for patients in Houston and the surrounding areas, including Sugarland, Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Sealy, Baytown, Pearland, Beaumont, Galleria, Tomball, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Port Arthur, Galveston, Memorial City, Texas Medical Center (TMC) and other Texas TX cities including Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin.
Patients suffering from neck pain or lower back pain, or who have been told they may require a spine surgery, can contact the Kraus Back and Neck Institute at
……. Or visit www.SpineHealth.com to SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT ONLINE
Keywords: spinal nerves, spinal discs, physical therapy, back pain, Houston,
Woodlands, Sugarland, Katy, Galleria, Memorial City, Kingwood, Humble, Spring, Beaumont, Tomball, Port Arthur, Conroe