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A pinched nerve can put a serious damper on your life. Pinched nerves, also referred to as cervical radiculopathy, can occur in different parts of the body—from the neck down to the lumbar spine. Fractures, bulging or herniated discs, or diseased spinal disks may compress adjacent nerve roots: impairing the nerve’s function and sending radiating pain through the neck, buttocks and legs. Although injuries are common contributors to pinched nerves, other factors such as poor posture, obesity, pregnancy and repetitive back stress may cause nerve pressure and aggravation—leading to chronic headaches, tingling and numbness in the arms or legs.
In most cases, pinched nerve pain starts at the neck or back and travels down the arms or legs in the area served by the damaged nerve. This pain is usually described as burning or sharp. Certain movements—like extending or straining the neck or back, or turning/twisting—may increase the pain.Other symptoms include:
After discussing your medical history and general health, your doctor will ask you about your symptoms. He or she will then examine your neck and back, as well as your upper and lower extremities — looking for muscle weakness, loss of sensation or any change in your reflexes. Your doctor may also ask you to perform certain movements to try to recreate and/or relieve your symptoms.Our spine specialists will then schedule appropriate imaging tests, such as MRIs, X-rays and CT scans.
Surgeon Robert A. Kayal, MD and his team of specialists treat pinched nerve conditions with a wide range of alternative methods. If necessary, minimally invasive endoscopic procedures with small incisions can also be performed, instead of traditional open back surgery, which reduces recovery time and postoperative pain. Since surgery is typically performed on an outpatient basis, spinal patients often return home the same day of the procedure.