Nerves help to regulate movement and send signals to your brain, but if they become damaged or compressed, they can cause a lot of pain. Some nerve damage is irreversible, while others can be treated with a variety of techniques. Today, we take a look at five common treatment techniques for taking care of pain caused by damaged or compressed spinal nerves.
Treating Spinal Nerve Pain
As we noted above, not all spinal nerve issues will fully resolve, as some nerve damage can be permanent. However, many cases can be treated through one or more of the following methods.
1. Medications – Medications are great for pain management, but they don’t actively treat the problem. However, medications are ideal if pain is preventing patients from taking part in other treatment techniques. For example, if pain is inhibiting physical therapy routines, medications can help dull the pain while patients do their physical exercises.
2. Physical and Occupational Therapy – Physical therapy is great at strengthening spinal structures and shifting spinal discs back into a secure location so that they aren’t compressing spinal nerves. Both physical and occupational therapists can explain which therapeutic exercises can strengthen certain areas of your back that are causing pain. Physical therapy can also free pinched nerves that are causing shooting pain.
3. Nerve Blocks – If nerve damage is a little more severe, your spine specialist may recommend a spinal nerve block injection. This injection will dull the nerve so that you won’t feel the irritation and thus pain signals won’t be sent to your pain. Nerve block injections last longer than oral medications, but again they shouldn’t be viewed as a long-term solution to spinal nerve pain.
4. Spinal Cord Stimulation – Spinal cord stimulation is a more advanced treatment technique in which electrical pulses are used to disrupt pain signals from being interpreted by the brain. Spinal cord stimulation is not available for all types of spinal nerve damage. Most people say that spinal cord stimulation does not eliminate their nerve pain, but it does greatly reduce it. Ask your specialist if you’re a candidate for spinal cord stimulation.
5. Surgery – Surgery is the final option for individuals who just can’t seem to get rid of their problematic spinal nerve pain. Surgery can be performed to either free the compressed nerve from the area causing pain, to remove objects that are causing compression (like herniated discs or bone spurs) or to remove part of the damaged nerve itself. Which procedure is right for you will depend on your specific situation, but all surgical operations have high success rates. Despite this, surgery is usually the last option because non-operative techniques are preferred.
For more information about treating spinal nerve issues, reach out to Dr. Chang’s office today.