Pinched Nerve

You have nerves that branch out from the central nervous system, which comprises the brain and spinal cord, that send signals to all other areas of your body to tell them what to do. These signals may tell you to take your hand off the hot stove so you don’t get burned or it might tell you to wave goodbye to a friend. Of course, if you have a pinched nerve you may notice weakness, tingling, numbness, or pain in the arms or the legs. This is when our board-certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Thomas Cartwright can step in to help.

What are the symptoms of a pinched nerve?

If you have a pinched nerve you may notice a pins-and-needles sensation in a specific area. You may notice pain that starts in either the neck or back and may radiate to other areas of your body such as the arms or legs. You may notice numbness or weakness as a result of your pinched nerve. You may also find that certain movements exacerbate your symptoms. A pinched nerve may develop in the fingers, hands, or wrists, or the shoulder, knees, legs, and feet.

How do pinched nerves happen?

In most cases, a pinched nerve happens when the nerve is compressed against tissue and bone, tendons, or ligaments. When the nerve is compressed for an extended amount of time, it can lead to inflammation near the nerve root, which results in pain. A pinched nerve can also be a complication of another condition such as neuropathy, carpal tunnel syndrome, or a herniated disc. Those with diabetes are also more likely to develop pinched nerves.

How does an orthopedic surgeon treat pinched nerves?

Since symptoms of a pinched nerve are similar to other spinal issues, it’s always a good idea to turn to our orthopedic surgeon for a proper diagnosis and to rule out any more serious spinal problems. Through diagnostic tests, Dr. Cartwright can determine the cause of your pinched nerve and then provide you with a variety of treatment options. In most cases, people will make a full recovery from a pinched nerve using simple lifestyle changes and conservative home care including:

  • Taking anti-inflammatory pain relievers
  • Alternating between icing and heating
  • Lightly massaging the area
  • Avoiding high-impact or strenuous activities that could make the problem worse
  • Undergoing physical therapy to improve range of motion and functionality

What happens if conservative care doesn’t work?

If your pinched nerve symptoms persist for months on end and aren’t responding to home care, our orthopedic team may suggest a nerve block or other more aggressive interventions to help reduce pain by targeting the nerve root itself. Only in severe cases when nerve pain doesn’t improve, or you’re experiencing issues with mobility as a result of your pinched nerve, might our team recommend surgery.

Are you experiencing pain or other symptoms of a pinched nerve? If so, it’s important that you don’t ignore these symptoms. Call Houston Advanced Spine today at (281)305-9533 to schedule an evaluation with Dr. Cartwright.


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