Pinched Nerve Treatments: All you need to Know

Aug 15, 2022

Pain and stiffness in the back, neck, and legs can be a result of pinched nerves in your spine. Spinal nerves are responsible for communication between your brain and body. These nerves can get compressed due to pressure from the surrounding tissues, bone spurs/osteophytes slipped or herniated discs, etc. In the following sections, you will get to learn about the surgical and non-surgical pinched nerve treatments and how it is diagnosed.

An old woman showing symptoms of back pain due to pinched nerve

How do I know if I have a Pinched Nerve?

While the diagnostic tests for spinal cord injuries can only be conducted at the doctor's office, there are a couple of tests you can use to diagnose pinched nerves at home. As mentioned above, pinched nerves can occur anywhere along the spine (Cervical, Thoracic, or Lumbar) so different physical tests are used to diagnose pinched nerves at different locations in the body.

Wherever the compression occurs, the most common symptoms include the following;

  • Sharp burning pain radiating down from the neck
  • Numbness and tingling in arms, legs, and feet
  • Muscle weakness near the affected part
  • Loss of bladder and bowel movement in extreme conditions

You can perform the following physical tests;

Head turn test - This is to diagnose pinched nerves in the cervical spine i.e., neck. Stand still and turn your face to the painful side. If you feel extreme pain or find it difficult to move your head through a complete range of motion, it indicates the presence of pinched nerves.
Straight leg-raise test SLR - SLR is a physical exam used to diagnose any compression in the lower part of the spine. The patient lies down on the ground right side up and raises one of his legs if he experiences pain during the experience that is unbearable, it shows the signs of spinal nerve compression.

Non-surgical Methods for Pinched Nerve Treatments

As a first resort, doctors try to cure the pinched nerves with conservative treatments also known as non-invasive pinched nerve treatments. These include the following;

Posture Adjustment

When experiencing back pain, the first thing you should worry about is your posture. At times, we do not pay attention to the way we sit, stand, and sleep. People who sit for 8 to 9 hours in front of a laptop screen are more likely to develop poor posture. It can result in unnecessary stress on the spine leading to nerve compression. You can maintain a good posture by;

  • Using ergonomic furniture such as adjustable chairs and cushions
  • Experimenting with different sitting positions to note which position gives you the maximum comfort
  • Learning to do the physical activities in the right way for example lifting heavy objects
  • Using back braces to keep your spine straight


Medicines are normally used to relieve the patient of back pain due to pinched nerves rather than treating it. However, in some cases compression in spinal nerves is due to swelling or inflammation in the muscle. In such a situation, anti-inflammatory drugs can be used to reduce swelling and relieve the pressure of the pinched nerve.

Heat & Ice Therapies

Heat & Ice therapies are considered to be very effective pinched nerve treatments. Doctors recommend treatments for minor nerve compressions caused due to inflammation or swelling.
Ice therapy is used first to reduce the swelling and redness around the muscle. You can use an ice pack or a bag with frozen peas in it. Press the bag against the injured area for 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat the process three times a day.
Once the swelling is gone, you can provide heat to the injured area using a heating pad or hot water bottle. It will help regulate the blood flow.

Surgical Procedures for Pinched Nerve Treatments

Sometimes, spinal nerve compression is due to a slipped disc or any other injury to the spine. In such cases, non-invasive treatments fail to relieve pain and leave patients with no choice but to go for surgical treatment. Depending upon the severity and location of the pinched nerves, your doctor can recommend you one of the following surgical pinched nerve treatments;

  • Laminectomy surgery - Involves the removal of the lamina from the lower spine to create space in the spinal canal. This is how space is created for the pinched nerves and unnecessary stress is removed.
  • Foraminotomy - Foraminotomy gets its name from foramina - Specialized gaps in spinal joints through which nerves enter and leave the spinal canal. In this procedure, the surgeon enlarges the foramina that have been blocked due to the outgrowth of a bone and thus causing nerve compression.
  • Discectomy - Discectomy means cutting out the disc. It refers to the removal of damaged parts of spinal discs (a condition known as a herniated or degenerative disc) that are causing pressure on the nerves.
  • Corpectomy - It is performed on the cervical spine (or neck) and involves the removal of vertebral bone to create space for the pinched nerve.

All these surgical procedures for pinched nerve treatment are carried out to achieve one objective i.e., to remove the compression from the nerves and relieve the pain.

Pinched nerves can cause a lot of pain and discomfort and ignoring the problem only makes it worse. If you have been experiencing any symptoms of pinched nerves, the best thing to do is to see an experienced doctor.

Schedule an Appointment with Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe

Here in Los Angeles, you can visit our medical facility - Southern California Brain and Spine Surgery for pinched nerve treatment. You can talk to Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe who serves here as a spine surgeon. She has treated several patients with spinal diseases and helped them fully recover. To schedule an appointment, you can fill out the contact form available on the website. You can also get in touch with someone at the clinic directly by calling (213) 369-4583.

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