If you have suffered from back or neck pain, you know just how debilitating the pain can be. There are many types of conditions that can cause this type of pain to occur. One common cause is a pinched nerve, which is characterized by a burning or numbing sensation. The following is an overview of the symptoms this condition can cause and how to treat it.
While any nerve in the body is susceptible to pain, the peripheral nerves in the neck and back are most often affected. Symptoms can occur when irritation leads to compression of these nerves, causing pain. this can be caused from an injury, repetitive motions or unusual sleeping positions. People who are overweight or have poor posture may also be at risk of developing nerve related pain. It is important never to ignore this type of pain. Obtaining an accurate diagnosis is key to relieving neck and back pain.
The most common complaint among those with pinched nerve pain is a numbness or tingling sensation. If the affected nerve is in the cervical spine or neck, the pain may radiate down the arms. Nerves affected in the lower back can cause a burning or numbness to radiate down the legs. In both areas this type of sensation can radiate down one side or both simultaneously.
Before examining you for signs of this condition, your doctor will take a detailed report of your medical history. Be sure to tell him the date of symptom onset, injuries that may have occurred and if you have any pre-existing medical conditions. Any information you can provide is helpful in reaching a diagnosis. After taking a medical history, your doctor will examine you. He will test your reflexes and strength in your extremities and order any tests he deems necessary. Doctors often order a test called an electromyography or EMG to aid in diagnosing this type of pain. This test will provide help determine if any nerve damage is present. In addition to an EMG, your doctor may order a CT scan or MRI. These diagnostic imaging tests will provide an accurate picture of the spine, which aids in diagnosing your condition.
The treatment for this condition depends largely upon the location and severity of symptoms. Rest is often the first thing doctors recommend because many of these cases are caused by repetitive motions. Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen may be helpful in reducing pain. Stronger pain medications may be prescribed by your doctor if he deems it necessary. Corticosteroids may also be prescribed to reduce inflammation surrounding the painful area.
Physical therapy may also be prescribed if severe or prolonged pain is an issue. If pain is persistent after all other forms of treatment have been exhausted, your doctor may recommend surgery to relieve the pressure being placed on the affected nerve.
You can take steps to prevent pinched nerves or relapses after diagnosis. Keeping good posture is one important part of preventing back and neck pain. You may also need to modify the way you perform certain activities, since these conditions are commonly seen with repetitive motion. Regular exercise can help you maintain a normal body weight, which is important in reducing pressure placed on the peripheral nerves in the neck and back. If you begin to experience a burning sensation or tingling pain, see your doctor as soon as possible. Prompt diagnosis and treatment is key to keeping this condition from worsening over time.