A pinched nerve in the neck can cause many problems. You may wake up at night with numbness in your arm and hand on the side of the pinched nerve. You may have trouble sitting in one position for too long before it starts to bother you. You may also find that you have increased tingling and weakness on the affected side. There are nonsurgical treatments available to treat a pinched nerve, but for severe cases, or when non-surgical options don’t work, you may find relief from cervical spine fusion surgery.
What Causes a Pinched Nerve?
Pinched nerves occur for a variety of reasons. You may have a herniated disc in your neck that is applying pressure on a nerve ending. You could have bone spurs sticking out that are compressing the nerves, or you could have damaged vertebrates or cervical discs that have started to apply pressure to nerve endings. Degenerative bone conditions can also be the cause of pinched nerves, which is why older people may experience more than one pinched nerve throughout the spinal column.
Treatments for Pinched Nerves
Non-surgical treatments include anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections, physical therapy, or wearing a collar to help restrict movement of the neck. Medications provide temporary relief, and you will feel pain as the medication wears off. Physical therapy can provide relief for years as the neck and back are stretched and strengthened using different exercises.
The above treatments are non-invasive and conservative, although they may not be successful. Cervical spine fusion surgery is when a spine surgeon gains access to the spine and removes the damaged part of the spine. Often the damaged part is a disc and the surgeon removes the disc, which immediately relieves pressure on the nerve. A bone graft is put into the empty space between the vertebrates, and a titanium plate may be used to help provide further stability to the spinal column.
Many patients report that relief happens quickly after cervical spine fusion surgery. This is because the only reason you experience pain from a pinched nerve is because the bones are compressing it. Once that compression is gone, you feel better immediately. The recovery time for surgery is about a month, depending on the extent of the surgery, and most patients find it well worth it for pain relief.
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