A pinched nerve occurs when a nerve is compressed or irritated by another nearby structure. Pinched nerves are often found branching out from the cervical spine, and they usually result from repetitive motions or stress. But can your job cause a pinched nerve?
Can Your Job Cause a Pinched Nerve?
Given the cause, it makes sense that some pinched nerves may be related to your job. Pinched nerves are considered a wear and tear injury, which means they aren’t usually a result of one particular moment.
Instead, pinched nerves are usually caused by a person doing one action so many times that it eventually causes a slight change in the spine. This slight change might be just enough to rub against a nerve branching away from the spinal column.
Recognizing a Pinched Nerve
Pinched nerves can be difficult to identify if you don’t know what you’re looking for. The location of the nerve will determine which region of the body is affected, and the severity of the compression will determine the severity of your symptoms.
For the most part, pinched nerves are associated with one of more of these symptoms.
- Numbness, including a limb that repeatedly “falls asleep”
- Radiating pain
- Tingling (pins and needles)
- Muscle weakness
A pinched nerve will usually affect one or both of the major limbs on one side of the body. If you notice these symptoms recurring over a number of days, then you should contact your spine surgeon in Los Angeles.
Diagnosing a Pinched Nerve
When you first meet with your spinal specialist you will need to discuss your personal medical history. Be sure to mention whether some specific tasks or positions seem to make your symptoms worse.
A physical exam is your next step. During this diagnostic stage your doctor will examine your spine and limbs. Dr. Yashar will look for signs of muscle weakness, numbness, and poor neurological responses. This examination will tell your doctor where he needs to start looking.
Finding the Cause
Now that your doctor knows the likely location of the problem, it’s time for testing to find the exact cause. With any luck you’ll only need to undergo one or two tests to find the culprit, but it may take more than that in some cases.
You will probably start with an X-ray, but you may need a CT scan or an MRI if the problem isn’t obvious right away. If your doctor needs more information, they may do electromyography to measure specific electrical pulses in your musculature.
In most cases these tests will help your doctor to find the exact cause of your pinched nerve.
Treatment for a Pinched Nerve
Spinal surgery is always a last resort. The vast majority of patients with pinched nerves benefit from non-surgical treatment. As a result, your pinched nerve treatment in Los Angeles will begin with the least invasive options and scale up until a lasting solution is found.
The first step towards relief is often rest. Your doctor may suggest a supportive medical device, such as a cervical collar to take pressure off the nerve while you heal. If the pinched nerve does not resolve on its own, then patients are usually prescribed physical therapy.
Medications including NSAIDs, oral corticosteroids, and steroid injections may be used to help support the patient’s recovery. These are temporary measures intended to improve the effects of long-term solutions like physical therapy.
Surgery for a Pinched Nerve
Surgery is not generally required for a pinched nerve. Non-surgical treatments are highly effective. However, if a patient is following their treatment plan and not experiencing relief after a prolonged period of time, then your spine surgeon may discuss the possibility of surgical treatment.