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There are many different causes of back pain and neck pain. Sometimes, frequent forward bending or heavy lifting can injure muscles that support your spine. Degenerative changes in your spine may lead to back pain or sciatica. Trauma may cause vertebral compression fractures that cause your symptoms.

There are also many different structures or conditions in your spine that may cause back pain or sciatica, including:

  • Herniated or bulging discs
  • Facet joint hypertrophy
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Spinal stenosis

These problems with your spine all have one thing in common: they can lead to a pinched nerve and cause you to have back and neck pain or sciatica. Pinched nerve symptoms can limit your ability to move properly and to enjoy normal work or athletic activities.

If you are dealing with back pain or sciatica, you should visit your doctor. He or she can perform special diagnostic tests – like an MRI or CT scan – to determine if a pinched nerve may be causing your symptoms.

Pinched Nerve Symptoms

Everyone is different, and everyone feels their pinched nerve symptoms differently. Symptoms of a pinched nerve may include:

  • Back pain or pain in one or both legs
  • Numbness and tingling in your thigh or lower leg
  • Difficulty bending, sitting or walking
  • Weakness in your thigh or leg musculature
  • Neck and arm pain, if a nerve is pinched in your upper spine
  • Loss of your bowel or bladder function

The final symptom in the list is a medical emergency. If you are experiencing changes in your bowel or bladder function as the result of a pinched nerve, see your doctor right away.

Pinched nerve symptoms can be constant or intermittent. They may come and go depending on your activity or movements and positions. The pain or tingling may range from mild to severe. When dealing with back pain or sciatica, you need to get treatment right away to get on the road to recovery.

Treatments for pinched nerves typically include:

  • Physical therapy and exercise
  • Chiropractic care
  • Injections
  • Surgery

The most invasive – and definitive – treatment for pinched nerve symptoms is surgery. If you are having continued symptoms after attempting conservative treatment, you should visit a top-rated NJ neurosurgeon to discuss your surgical options for your pinched nerve.

Surgery for a pinched nerve involves cutting away the spinal material that is pinching your nerve. This can help relieve your symptoms and improve the way you move. In general, there are two types of surgical approaches when decompressing a spinal nerve: the standard open approach and minimally invasive spine surgery.

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery for a Pinched Nerve

Minimally invasive spine surgery for a pinched nerve is an innovative procedure practiced by few NJ neurosurgeons. During the procedure, a small incision is made in your back and small portals are pierced through your spinal muscles. Specialized instruments are then used to visualize your spine and to cut away any disc or bony material that is compressing your nerve.

Many patients prefer minimally invasive spine surgery because it offers superior benefits when compared to the standard open approach. Benefits of minimally invasive surgery for a pinched nerve may include:

  • Less pain
  • Sparing of your back muscles
  • Decreased risk of blood loss
  • Less risk of infection
  • Improved mobility after surgery

Since the incisions used during minimally invasive spine surgery are so small and your back muscles are spared during the procedure, many patients are able to return home the same day of surgery if they reach certain benchmarks, such as walking, urinating or successfully eating a meal. This means no lengthy hospital stay as well as minimal lost time at work.

Top NJ Neurosurgeons for Treatment of a Pinched Nerve

When considering surgery for your pinched nerve symptoms, it is important to work with a top-rated NJ neurosurgeon to have the best outcome for your condition. So, what are the qualities of a top neurosurgeon?

Extensive Training in Innovative Surgical Techniques

Many old-school doctors cling to treatments and surgical approaches that are outdated. Sure, these methods are tried and true, but a top-rated neurosurgeon is one who has extensive training in the most up-to-date surgical techniques, like minimally invasive spine surgery. When meeting with your neurosurgeon, ask about what new and innovative techniques are available and if he or she is trained to perform them.

A Leader in Education and Research

Your neurosurgeon should be considered a leader in research and education. He or she should not only work in clinical practice, but should consistently be engaged in professional development and research. A quick search on the internet can help you find which neurosurgeons are engaged in research.

Works with Caring and Compassionate Staff

When it comes time for surgery, your care will be provided by your surgeon and a number of ancillary providers on staff. These people should be caring and compassionate professionals who understand your condition and what you are going through. Finding a doctor whose office provides pre-operative educational programs to prepare for surgery is also a sign that the surgeon you are working with is a leader in the field.

Takes Time to Offer You the Best Care

Another quality of a top-rated NJ neurosurgeon is that he or she takes time to understand your condition and to offer you the best care possible. Your doctor should answer your questions about surgery, and he or she should offer you alternatives to surgery, if any are available. If you are meeting with a surgeon and feel rushed or ignored, you may want to find a different doctor. Your relationship with a top neurosurgeon should feel like a therapeutic alliance with both of you working in your best interests.

Dealing with pinched nerve symptoms can be a difficult thing to do. You may be having a hard time working or enjoying time with family and friends. Your pain may prevent you from moving around normally or sleeping. Working with a top-rated NJ neurosurgeon who performs minimally invasive spine surgery can help alleviate your pinched nerve symptoms and get you back to your normal work and recreational activities.
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