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Last updated: Oct 6, 2021

Pinched Nerve

Sometimes, it’s tempting just to blow off the irritating neck, back, hand, or leg pain as “just a pinched nerve.” Perhaps you’ve experienced this type of discomfort in the past that relieved itself with rest. But this time, you may have an underlying condition that requires treatment. Maybe you suffered a trauma that, without the proper treatment, can leave you with permanent damage.

Don’t risk it. The pain management doctors at Redefine Healthcare are experts at diagnosing and treating your pain. Call today to schedule an appointment.

pinched nerve in the backIf you have a pain in your back or neck, it may be due to a pinched nerve. When nerves are compressed or irritated by surrounding tissue, it’s known as nerve impingement. You may experience severe pain, discomfort, numbness, or weakness, and the pain may even radiate to other parts of your body.

Proper diagnosis of the root cause of your back or neck pain gives you the best opportunity for healing. At Redefine Healthcare in northern New Jersey, you’ll find comprehensive care from the best pain management experts who use the most advanced, non-invasive treatments to help you manage your pain. Don’t let pain slow you down when solutions are so near at hand!

Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve

Your symptoms and their severity vary based on the location of your compressed nerve. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Pain that may be sharp, burning or aching
  • Pain that radiates outward
  • Shocking, electrical-like sensations
  • Feelings of pins and needles
  • Numbness
  • Muscle weakness

You may experience a pinched nerve as upper back pain when it occurs near your shoulders, lower back pain that may affect your legs or neck, making it difficult to move your head. You may feel like your hand or foot falls asleep frequently. Repetitive movements or certain positions worsen symptoms.

Nerve Damage and Radiculopathy

The term pinched nerve is a non-medical term. Symptoms caused by a pinched or damaged nerve are known as radiculopathy. There are different types of radiculopathy based on the affected location. These include:

  • Cervical radiculopathy. This condition means a nerve has been compressed in your neck, leading to numbness or weakness in the arms.
  • Lumbar radiculopathy. This condition refers to the lower back and is the area most commonly affected by pinched nerves. When the sciatic nerve is involved, it leads to a painful condition referred to as sciatica.
  • Thoracic radiculopathy. This condition involves your mid to upper back. Symptoms may even extend to the front of your body.

Causes and Risk Factors for a Pinched Nerve

A pinched nerve occurs when pressure from nearby soft tissues, bones, or cartilage causes discomfort. The condition can result from spinal degeneration or injury. Traumas like sports injuries or car accidents can cause bulging or herniated disc that stress nearby nerves.

You’re at increased risk if you frequently participate in activities with repetitive motions, such as running, working on a computer, or repeatedly swinging a hammer.

Some medical conditions also increase your risk of a pinched nerve, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid disease. The added pressure on your spine when you’re pregnant or obese also may impinge on your nerves.

How to Treat a Nerve Impingement

After a thorough physical examination, your New Jersey doctor checks your muscle strength and reflexes. Then he checks to see if your pain increases with certain motions. You may undergo additional tests such as a high-resolution MRI or an ultrasound. We may perform conduction studies to see if the nerve is functioning normally.

Treatment starts with discontinuing any activity that aggravates the affected discomfort. For some types of pinched nerves, your doctor may recommend wearing a splint to immobilize the area. Wearing a splint is expected when you have carpal tunnel syndrome, a common condition. Learning ways to prevent pain, proper sitting and standing postures, help your recovery, and prevent future discomfort.

Further Pinched Nerve Treatments

When simple lifestyle changes don’t relieve the discomfort, physical therapy can help you learn to stretch and strengthen muscles to relieve pressure. Over-the-counter pain relievers help to alleviate inflammation and pain. Corticosteroid injections reduce pain and swelling.

While your doctors at Redefine Healthcare always start with the minimally invasive treatments for pain, minimally invasive surgery may be required. The ligament that houses your carpal tunnel may need to be severed. If you need more extensive pinched nerve in the back treatment, your doctor may remove a bulging disc or bone spurs.

Ignoring back pain makes it harder to treat. Early diagnosis prevents further damage. Contact Redefine Healthcare today. With locations in Union, Paterson, Clifton, and Edison, you can receive compassionate care close to home. Pain management specialists get you on the path to a pain-free life as quickly as possible.

This page was published on Oct 9, 2019, modified on Oct 6, 2021 by Dr. Freeman (Pain Management Specialist) of Redefine Healthcare
Dr. Eric D. Freeman, a highly regarded pain specialist

Dr. Eric D. Freeman is a top-rated, best-in-class pain management doctor. He is a nationally recognized pain relief specialist and is among the top pain care doctors in New Jersey and the country. He is an award-winning expert and contributor to prominent media outlets.

Dr. Eric D. Freeman has been recognized for his thoughtful, thorough, modern approach to treating chronic pain. He has been named a "top pain management doctor in New Jersey" and one of "America’s Top Physicians" for advanced sports injury treatments.

Learns more about Dr. Freeman | Dr. Freeman's Scholar

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