Our highly-experienced spinal surgeons perform sophisticated treatment procedures to help their patients find long-lasting pain relief from radiculopathy symptoms. At Marina del Rey Hospital, the surgeons use state-of-the-art surgical equipment and offer minimally invasive procedures that help you undergo pinched nerve treatment with minimal pain.
The term radiculopathy describes a cluster of symptoms that result from compression or inflammation of spinal nerve roots. These symptoms usually appear along the pathway of the nerves, and not at the point where the compression has occurred. The symptoms of radiculopathy include a long-term back or neck pain, which travels along a nerve to other parts of your body, numbness, a "pins and needles" or burning or tingling sensation in your arms and legs, muscle weakness, and loss of reflex.
Pinched nerves or nerve root compression in the spinal column most commonly occurs because of direct pressure from a herniated disc (slipped disc), bone spur formation or soft tissue swelling. This disrupts the signals between the brain and the nerve endings. Radiculopathy is most likely to happen in your lower back, but may also occur in the neck region. A pinched nerve in the cervical spine can cause numbness in your fingers and hands. The treatment of radiculopathy depends on the underlying causes.
Spinal surgery is recommended when all the conservative treatment options prove to be ineffective in providing relief from radiculopathy symptoms or if there are signs of nerve damage. Surgery can relieve your symptoms as well as remove the source that exerts pressure on the nerve roots.
At Marina del Rey Hospital, spinal surgeons make use of advanced techniques to perform spinal decompression. In a majority of radiculopathy patients, a spinal decompression is advised during which a small portion of the damaged spine is removed to avoid the pinching of the nerve roots. In some patients, a stabilization surgery will be necessary to improve the stability of the spine and relieve pressure exerted on the pinched nerve.
Minimally invasive spinal surgery is preferred over traditional open surgery because of its benefits such as short recovery period, safety and effectiveness, and lesser risk of complications. During minimally invasive spinal decompression procedures, the muscles and tissues are spared from being damaged as it requires only a 1-inch incision to create an approach to your spine. Then, the bone, ligament, or any other tissue that compresses on the nerve roots is removed. The procedures involved in minimally invasive decompression include the following:
During the minimally invasive stabilization procedures, after removing the affected portion of the disc, an implant is inserted in order to provide immediate stability and pain relief.
The common symptoms of radiculopathy or pinched nerve include:
Your doctor will find the cause of the pinched nerves with the help of certain tests and a complete physical examination.
Physical examination: Your doctor will ask you questions about your past medical history, present symptoms, and general health condition. Then, an examination of your neck, shoulder, arms, and hands is done to check for any loss of sensation, weakness or change in the reflexes. You may be asked to move your neck or arm in a certain way to elicit your symptoms.
The factors involved in increasing your risk of developing radiculopathy include:
The anatomical cause of radiculopathy is abnormal pressure over one of the spinal nerve roots. The specific causes of radiculopathy may vary, but arise from spinal disorders such as:
Alternative treatments for radiculopathy should be used along with conventional treatments and under your doctor’s supervision. The common alternative therapies used for radiculopathy are:
The only way to prevent radiculopathy is to avoid the compression of the nerve roots in the spine. Compression of nerve or pinched nerve commonly occurs due to a degenerative condition of the spine, which develops as your spine becomes weak with advancing age. While spinal degeneration cannot be prevented, there are certain measures you can take to improve the strength and flexibility of your neck and back region. This, in turn, can avoid nerve compression.
Pinched nerve prevention can also be achieved by avoiding unreasonable stress on your spine. Poor posture, being obese, and stretching in an incorrect way can increase the stress on your back and neck. There are few lifestyle changes that can be made to improve your spine health. The preventive methods include the following:
If you need to know more about radiculopathy or pinched nerves, feel free to contact our specialty-trained, orthopedic spine surgeons at Marina del Rey Hospital.
Robert Watkins III, M.D.See Profile »
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