Radiculopathy, also known as a pinched nerve, can cause numbness, pins-and-needles sensations, and pain. If your symptoms occur mainly in your legs, then you likely have sciatica: a pinched sciatic nerve that runs to your legs from your low back. If you are experiencing thoracic or cervical symptoms, then you may have a pinched nerve in your mid-back or neck. Wherever the location, the problem originates at the root of the nerve when it exits the spinal cord. Here are some treatment options to consider for radiculopathy.
Spinal injections are a very common treatment for those with sciatica. During this procedure, your doctor will inject a steroid called cortisone into the affected area of your spine. The injection will then ease any compression or inflammation that is irritating your sciatic nerve. You and your doctor can discuss how many of these injections you will need and how often. If your pain is severe, you may be able to have these treatments done more often. Once your symptoms decrease, you should be able to become more physically active.
If spinal injections don't work or your symptoms appear more in your back and neck rather than your lower legs, you may want to look into surgical options. Before you jump into surgery, however, your doctor will make sure that other treatments are ruled out. You may need to undergo a CT scan and/or MRI to figure out if something is causing the nerve pinching, like a herniated disc.
Lumbar Decompression Surgery
If you do have a herniated disc, then one surgical option that is available is lumbar decompression. During a lumbar decompression surgery, your surgeon will remove the bony roof that covers your spinal cord's nerves to give them more space if they're under too much pressure. If a disc is causing too much pressure, then the surgeon can also dissect some of the disc to relieve pressure on the nerves. This surgery is minimally invasive compared to other surgeries and has a very good success rate.
Anterior Cervical Diskectomy and Fusion (ACDF)
If your symptoms are mainly related to cervical radiculopathy and your pain is severe, ACDF is a good surgery to consider. During this procedure, your surgeon will remove any bone spurs or relieve compressed disks and then stabilize your spine.
Your doctor will access the spine by creating a one- to two-inch incision along your anterior neck crease. Like decompression surgery, your doctor will try to access the site with minimally invasive methods. Herniated disks are restored to their proper height, which relieves pinched nerves. To make sure that you heal properly. Your doctor will conduct a spinal fusion, or bind vertebrae segments together so they fuse into one bone. This stability helps during healing and helps you avoid repeat symptoms. This fusion can eliminate problems with vertebrae that have been worn down.
For more information on treatments that can help your radiculopathy and other back pain, contact a doctor or back surgeon at a local clinic, such as Healthpointe, today.