The human spine houses a bundle of nerves that branch off to various parts of the body. This is why a common source of spine-related symptoms, including numbness, local or radiating pain, and muscle weakness, is nerve irritation or compression. The bright spot here is that many treatments are available today to treat spinal nerve pain, five of which are discussed below.
Some form of physical therapy is typically recommended if there’s not a pressing medical urgency to consider surgery right away. Physical therapy or rehab therapy may eliminate, reduce, or manage spinal nerve pain by:
• Shifting a spinal disc back into the correct position
• Naturally reducing inflammation by stretching and relaxing spine-supporting muscles
• Increasing range of motion and flexibility within the affected area
Localized inflammation is the body’s natural response to some type of trauma. However, the resulting tissue swelling can irritate nerves around the spine, including the sciatic nerve near the base of the spine. NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, stifle the body’s natural inflammation response to ease pressure on nerves in the affected area.
If your spinal nerve pain doesn’t respond well to oral NSAIDs, your doctor or a Los Angeles spine surgeon may advise you to try injections given directly within the affected area. These injections, which usually include a mix of a local anesthetic and a steroid medication, desensitize the nerve and block signals to the part of the brain that interprets pain.
This concentrated numbing may also provide enough pain relief to make physical therapy less painful and more beneficial. However, it should be noted that spinal injections aren’t meant to be a standalone treatment for spinal nerve pain, and targeted injections can certainly be coupled with other treatments.
If a problematic spinal nerve can’t become less irritated through physical therapy, NSAIDs, or direct injections, ablation may be recommended. This treatment uses radiofrequency waves or other heat-generated techniques to deaden a specific section of the affected nerve. When signals from the nerve are blocked in this way, you may experience welcome relief.
Motorized traction is a nonsurgical form of decompression that could ease spinal nerve pressure. While you may wish to give techniques of this nature a try, surgical decompression may end up being the better option. For example, your spine specialist may recommend a procedure such as a lumbar foraminotomy. Los Angeles patients may require decompression surgery if there’s a structure, such as a damaged disc, placing pressure on a spinal nerve. The goal with this treatment is to remove the structure that’s irritating the nerve. Decompression surgery could also involve:
• Removing part of a vertebra
• Removing parts of bones in areas where nerves pass through
• Fusing together adjacent vertebrae to prevent excess movement
The one thing you don’t want to do with spinal nerve pain is wait to seek treatment. If nerve irritation goes untreated, the damage could become more difficult to treat or even permanent. Getting an accurate diagnosis also boosts the odds of responding well to the treatment plan recommended for you.
If you’re having severe or persistent back pain, make sure to see an experienced spine specialist for prompt diagnosis and treatment. The industry-leading physicians at The Spine Institute are pioneers in spinal health, employing cutting-edge technology and innovative methods to enable patients to live pain-free, active lives. To schedule a personal consultation with one of our spinal health experts, give us a call today at 310-828-7757.