A pinched nerve, or a compressed nerve, is caused by nerves being pressed between ligaments, tendons and/or bones. When a nerve becomes pinched, or compressed, it can cause pain, numbness and tingling.
A pinched nerve can sometimes be treated with steroid injections or physical therapy, but oftentimes a compressed nerve will have to be treated with nerve decompression surgery from a spine surgeon.
Pinched nerves are commonly treated at Orlando Orthopaedic Center using both minimally invasive surgery and non-surgical methods as required by our board certified spine surgeons.
A majority of patients treated at Orlando Orthopaedic Center report an improvement in their condition.
A pinched nerve can be caused by injury, arthritis, stress from repetitive work, sports or obesity.
Symptoms of a pinched nerve include:
- Aching or burning pain
- Tingling sensation
- Muscle weakness
- Feeling as if the area has “fallen asleep”
- Leg pain and/or buttock pain
Patients diagnosed with a pinched nerve may be initially prescribed rest, physical therapy, massages, anti-inflammatory and pain medications.
As a more invasive, but conservative option, steroids and local anesthetics can be injected around the site of the problem. These conservative methods of treatment are usually recommended before surgery is discussed.
Surgery to Fix a Pinched Nerve
A treatment plan will vary depending on the location of the pinched nerve. Physical therapy may help strengthen and stretch the muscles in the affected area to relieve pressure on the nerve. Anti-inflammatory drug can also help a compressed nerve. When those treatments fail, surgery may be recommended.
There are two common types of spine surgery decompression procedures:
Microdiscectomy surgery is performed to repair a herniated disc in the lumbar, or lower back region. The minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery requires an incision only about 1 to 1.5 inches long close to the midline of the back.
Laminectomy is a surgery that is performed to remove the lamina. The lamina is part of the bone that makes up a vertebra in the spine. A laminectomy can also be used to remove bone spurs in the spine. This procedure can help to take pressure off your spinal nerves or spinal cord.
Surgery has a relatively high success rate for providing relief of leg pain and/or buttock pain. Often, pain relief is instant and patients wake up after the surgery feeling marked relief from their leg pain. If neurological symptoms had also been experienced prior to surgery, it may take longer for the nerve to heal and the patient may continue to feel some weakness or numbness, or any of their prior symptoms, for several months. For some, the symptoms may improve but never fully resolve.
Who Should Consider Pinched Nerve Surgery?
Surgery should be considered for individuals who have failed conservative treatment with medications and injections, or those with symptoms that are so severe that they are starting to lose significant function and are at risk for permanent nerve damage.
All risks and benefits of spine surgery should be considered before making a decision. The spine surgeon will discuss all available options and treatments.
Results of Pinched Nerve Surgery
According to Spine-Health, the success rate of pinched nerve surgery is high, with approximately 90 percent of patients experiencing relief of pain. A majority of patients with acute or severe back pain can benefit more from a microdiscectomy or laminectomy.