If you are experiencing sharp, intense back in your back or neck, it could be the result of a pinched nerve. This is a common cause of back pain and a spinal condition treated often in our Loveland office. But what causes the nerves in your spine to become pinched? Can you prevent it? And what treatment options are available when it happens? Our spinal doctors have answers.
What Causes Pinched Nerves
There are dozens of nerves in your spine, traveling in and out of your spine and sending messages to your brain about movement, touch, pain, and more. If one of the many parts that make up your spine become damaged or injured, they may move out of place and end up putting pressure on a nerve. You might experience sharp pains, a burning sensation, or even weakness or numbness. There are a number of specific spinal conditions that can result in a pinched nerve, including:
- Degenerative disc disease. The discs in your spine undergo a lot of stress and pressure during your lifetime, and eventually, they can start to break down and dry out. This leads to the discs in your back losing their shock absorption and moving out of place, putting pressure on the nerves in your back.
- Herniated or bulging discs. This spinal condition can be the result of degenerative disc disease. Herniated or bulging discs happen when the soft, jelly-like cushioning between the vertebrae move out of place, rupture, or bulge. The result can put pressure on a nerve in the spine.
- Poor posture. Poor posture when you are sitting, standing, or walking can put extra strain on the muscles and joints in your back. That can cause them to move out of place and pinch one of the nerves in your back.
- Sports injuries. Pinched nerves are a common result of sports injuries. Damage to the back can create issues with the facet joints or other mechanics within the structure of your spine.
- Being overweight. Similar to the issues seen in those with poor posture, carrying excess weight on your body can result in more pressure on the structure of your back and cause issues with discs and other elements.
- Traumatic injury to the spine. Car accidents and other physical injuries can create issues resulting in pinched nerves in the back.
- Age. As you grow older, the discs in your back start to deteriorate, which can result in degenerative disc disease and pinched nerves.
How to Prevent Pinched Nerves
There are a few things that you can do to prevent spinal conditions that result in pinched nerves in your back and neck. First, exercise can help strengthen your back and prevent injuries. Making sure you aren’t carrying excess weight can also help, as will proper posture and ergonomics in your workplace. Unfortunately, some issues that cause pinched nerves cannot be prevented; they may be the result of growing older or your own genetics.
Treatment Options for Pinched Nerves
If you suspect you are experiencing issues with a pinched nerve in your back, the good news is that most pinched nerve conditions resolve themselves in a couple days. You can help your body recover with:
- Extra rest. Take it easy for a couple days and avoid lifting or straining your back.
- Hot and cold compresses. Alternate heating pads and ice packs on the affected area.
- Over the counter medications. Anti-inflammatories and pain relievers can help with the symptoms.
If your pain continues for more than two weeks or gets worse, you’ll want to make an appointment with Colorado Spine Institute. This could indicate that there is something wrong with your spine that requires treatment by a doctor. Spinal conditions are best treated early; the longer you wait, the worse the condition can become and the more extensive the treatment may be. A spine specialist can provide you with an accurate diagnosis about what’s causing the pressure on the nerve in your back and develop a treatment plan to help you find relief.
Do you need to make an appointment with our team about a spinal condition you are experiencing? You can give us a call or contact us through our website for an appointment. Don’t let the back pain take over your life! Let our team help you find relief.