Spine is composed of several bones called vertebrae. These bones together make a canal in which the spinal cord runs. Spinal cord has nerves in it that go between each vertebra. Now, due to different reasons, these nerves get compressed and the condition is known as radiculopathy or more commonly referred to as Pinched nerve.
Pinched nerves in the lumbar spine can be caused by a variety of factors such as herniated disc, spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, and muscle spasms. A herniated disc occurs when the inner gel-like material of a spinal disc bulges out through a tear in the outer layer of the disc, which can put pressure on the nerve roots, causing a pinched nerve. Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the spinal canal narrows, putting pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots. Osteoarthritis can cause the bones in the spine to rub against each other, which can lead to nerve compression. Additionally, muscle spasms or tightness can also cause nerve compression, leading to a pinched nerve. Other possible causes include injury, disease and deformities.
Symptoms of Pinched Nerve in Lower Back
Pinched nerve in lower back might show the following symptoms;
- Pain that radiates from the lower back and go all the way down to your feet’
- Numbness in legs and feet
- Feeling weakness in legs
- Pain getting worse due to coughing or sitting
- Tingling sensation in legs and feet
If you have been experiencing any of the symptoms above, you should seek immediate medical help. We would recommend you to see Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe at Southern California Brain & Spine Surgery. She is one of the best spine surgeons in Los Angeles for pinched nerve treatment.
Diagnosis for Pinched Nerve
When you visit a neurosurgeon for pinched nerve diagnosis, he starts with conducting a physical examination. Under physical examination he checks your reflexes and sensitivity. Your range of motion will also be examined and the doctor will observe if the pain worsens as you move. If the indications for pinched nerve are found during physical examination, the doctor will ask you to get the following scans;
Once the diagnosis is complete, depending upon the location and severity of the compression, your doctor will recommend a treatment plan.
Pinched Nerve Treatment in Los Angeles
Both surgical and nonsurgical methods are used to treat pinched nerves. Minor compressions due to swelling can be treated with conservative methods but severe compressions caused by osteophytes or degenerative disc are treated with surgery.
Nonsurgical Treatments for Pinched Nerve
Conservative treatments are only good for managing pain and they do not provide any permanent solution to back pain due to pinched nerves. Doctors first try to cure the disease with nonsurgical treatments. They look at the location and severity of the compression and if they feel that surgery is is not required or can be delayed, they put patient on non-invasive treatments like;
- Special exercises
Surgical Treatments for Pinched Nerve
There are different surgical procedures that doctors use to treat pinched nerves. The objective is to decompress the nerves that are being pressed within the spinal cord. One of the most commonly used surgical procedures is Lumbar Decompression Surgery. Following are the surgeries performed by doctors to treat compression in spinal cord:
- Endoscopic Discectomy
- Endoscopic Foraminoplasty
For the surgical treatment, there are two options available. Open spine surgery and Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery. The latter is more preferred nowadays as it is less invasive and has a fast recovery rate. Which option suits you is something your surgeon will decide after looking at your medical history, age, and severity of the injury.