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If your primary care doctor informs you that the cause of your extreme discomfort is a pinched nerve, you probably already know that the debilitating pain is no laughing matter. Many well-meaning friends may offer you advice on how to fix a pinched nerve, but these home remedies often help only temporarily or not at all. Once you consult a physician, your family doctor may advise conservative measures.

If these don’t provide you with pain relief, it may be time to consider a minimally invasive spine surgery. Learning about the options available to you can help ensure that you obtain relief in a manner that works best for your body and overall health.

What Causes a Pinched Nerve?

When you are told that your medical problem is a pinched nerve, it is easy to imagine someone exerting tremendous pressure on one of your nerves with their thumb and index finger. In reality, something in your body is actually compressing one of the nerves, usually in your low back or in your neck. The pain is probably a result of your body tissues squeezing a nerve. The offending tissues could be ligaments, tendons or even bones. Pain relief occurs when the pressure is relieved.

When constant pressure is applied to the nerve, fluid may eventually accumulate in the area. This results in swelling, scar tissue and even more pressure on the nerve. Over time, this fluid can cause damage to the nerve or interfere with its function.

Conservative Methods

Your family doctor may recommend a few options to relieve the pressure or inflammation when you ask them how to fix a pinched nerve. One of the most common and often effective treatments is for you to rest the affected area. At the same time, it is quite important that you avoid movements that make the pain worse.

Doctors frequently recommend that the patient reduce the inflammation by taking ibuprofen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain medicines. Ice packs or those that can be warmed are sometimes soothing as well. Other medications that can help relieve the pain are oral corticosteroids. If these drugs are ineffective, narcotics may be used on a short-term basis. The physician may also suggest steroid injections. These are useful in helping reduce the swelling and can provide some pain relief.

Physical therapy sometimes provides relief from the agonizing pain for many people who are seeking how to fix a pinched nerve. This is because it helps stretch the muscles and strengthen them. This results in removing the pressure from the nerve. The therapist can also show you ways to modify any activities that aggravate the area.

Surgery as an Alternative

If other treatment plans fail to provide you with pain relief, your family doctor will likely refer you to a neurosurgeon to discuss your surgical options. Another reason surgery may be necessary is because there is a risk of permanent nerve damage.  This is particularly the case if you have a significant weakness. Ask your doctor to recommend a neurosurgeon who is board certified in order to find one who is up to date on all the latest techniques.

Recovery Time Doesn’t Have to Be a Lengthy Process

There are risks with any type of surgery, but many patients who have minimally invasive surgeries for pinched nerves declare the operation a success. They often wonder why they were reluctant to have the procedure and wish they had agreed to the surgery long ago.

The kind of surgery you may need depends on what is causing the pain. For instance, if you have a bone spur on your spine that is the cause of the nerve pain, the surgeon may recommend an operation to remove it. Some patients have a ruptured or herniated disc. This causes pressure on the nerve that makes surgical intervention a necessity. The bottom line is that if you’re searching for a treatment on how to fix a pinched nerve, it will completely depend on how and where the nerve is being compressed.

The good news is that most pinched nerves can be relieved by having a minimally invasive spine surgery. This type of operation allows the surgeon to decompress the nerve via small incisions. Having small incisions reduces the recovery time because they don’t take as long to heal as larger ones. Your physical limitations aren’t as rigid as with the more traditional ‘open’ surgery, since movements don’t pull on the smaller incisions as much.

Minimally invasive surgical techniques are done on an outpatient basis. This usually allows the patient to go home the same day of the surgery, thus resulting in less expensive hospital bills. Recovery time is much faster than for the ‘open’ surgeries of the past. You may be able to go back to your job as soon as 14 days after the surgery, particularly if you have a desk job or one that requires little physical activity or lifting.

People who have active lifestyles are often more than ready to regain control of their lives and start participating in their old activities once again. This is a much more appealing option than being restrained by the physical limitations and pain caused by a pinched nerve. Talk with a neurosurgeon today to find out if this surgical option is best for your body and lifestyle.

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