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If you have back pain due to a pinched nerve, you should know that are may different treatments available for you. Pinched nerve treatment may include a variety of different conservative and more invasive procedures. Understanding the cost and recovery of different treatments can help you make an informed decision when considering your options for pinched nerve treatment.

A pinched nerve occurs when any structure in your spine moves out of its anatomical position and engages a spinal nerve. When this happens, a pinched nerve results, causing a variety of symptoms that may limit your ability to move and function normally.

Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve

If you have a pinched nerve, you may experience different symptoms. These may range from mild to extreme, and they may limit your ability to comfortably perform basic work and recreational activities.

Pinched nerve symptoms may include:

  • Back pain or pain in your thigh or leg
  • Numbness and tingling in your thigh or lower leg
  • Weakness in your thigh or leg muscles
  • Neck and arm pain, if a nerve is pinched in your cervical spine

If you have any back pain or sciatica symptoms, you should see your primary doctor to get started on the best treatment for you.

Pinched Nerve Treatment

If you are dealing with a pinched nerve, you should understand the various treatments available. By working with your doctor to get an accurate diagnosis, you can get started on the best pinched nerve treatment for you.

Pinched nerve treatment may include:

  • Exercise and physical therapy
  • Chiropractic care
  • Steroid injections
  • Surgery

Interventions may range from conservative to invasive, but the overall goal of pinched nerve treatment is to get pressure off of your spinal nerve to relieve pain and improve the way you can move.

Surgery for Pinched Nerve

If you require surgery for a pinched nerve, you should find a top-rated neurosurgeon who uses innovative procedures – like minimally invasive spine surgery – to perform your surgery. The goal of surgery is to relieve pressure from your spinal nerve to decrease your symptoms and help you return to normal activity.

There are two different approaches to surgery for a pinched nerve. The older approach is the standard open procedure, where a large incision is made and your muscles are dissected off your spinal bones. Surgical tools are then used to decompress your pinched nerve.

The minimally invasive approach to spinal surgery involves small incisions with no dissection of your back muscles. Benefits of a minimally invasive spine surgery pinched nerve treatment include:

  • Less pain
  • Rapid recovery
  • Less blood loss
  • Decreased risk of infection

When considering surgery, many patients prefer the minimally invasive approach. Not all patients are candidates for this approach, though, so work closely with your doctor to decide if it is right for you.

Minimally Invasive Microdiscectomy for a Pinched Nerve

Minimally invasive microdiscectomy involves your surgeon making a tiny incision in your back. Small holes are then made in your back muscles, leaving them intact to their attachment points. Then, specialized surgical instruments are used to visualize your nerve and remove any bony or disc material that is pinching it. This helps to decompress your nerve to relieve your pain and improve your mobility.

Your recovery from minimally invasive microdiscectomy surgery begins right after surgery, where the nursing staff will monitor your condition and your doctor will ensure that you are feeling well. Most patients can go home the very same day after surgery, as long as they can pass simple benchmarks such as eating, going to the bathroom and walking.

A week after your surgery, you should follow up with your doctor to ensure that things are progressing smoothly. During the week, you will slowly be able to increase your activity level. Care should be taken not to do any heavy lifting or repetitive bending. After you meet with your doctor for a check up, you can start to get back to your normal activity level. Most patients are back to their previous level of function about 3-6 weeks after surgery.

When considering minimally invasive spine surgery for a pinched nerve, many patients are curious about their personal out of pocket cost of the surgery. There are many upfront costs of a minimally invasive microdiscectomy. These may include surgical center fees and copayments that you may have. Your insurance company may cover your surgery if you use a doctor who is in your insurance company’s network. If he is not, you may be facing increased costs for your surgery. Your doctor may have an insurance specialist on staff who can help you understand your insurance and any financial responsibilities that you have.

Hidden costs of a minimally invasive surgery may include things such as payments to surgical assistants and fees for specific specialists to be present during your procedure. Ask your doctor’s staff about any and all healthcare members that will be involved in your care. Other costs that you may not think of include out-of-pocket fees for parking at the surgical center, payments to rehab professionals (if you require physical therapy after surgery) and costs due to missed time at work.

Minimally Invasive Fusion for a Pinched Nerve

If your pinched nerve symptoms are due to instability in one of your spinal joints, you may benefit from a procedure called a minimally invasive fusion. During this procedure, small incisions are used to introduce surgical instruments into your spine. Material pinching your nerves will be cut away, and specialized bone grafting material will be used to stabilize your spine. Small rods will be secured to your bones to hold your spine in place while it fuses.

Recovery from a minimally invasive fusion may take a few weeks longer than a microdiscectomy. Care is required to ensure that the fusion takes hold, so a few extra weeks of avoiding bending and lifting may be in order.

The costs of a minimally invasive lumbar fusion are similar to those of a microdiscectomy, although your personal costs may be greater. Your doctor may require that you wear a lumbar brace during your recovery, and this may not be covered by your insurance company. Since the healing may take a little longer, you may also miss a few more weeks of work, leading to increased overall financial burden from the surgery.

Remember, your recovery may be significantly longer if you choose the standard open approach to surgery for your pinched nerve. Longer recovery time may also mean more lost time at work and may create a greater financial burden for you and your loved ones.

If you are suffering from spinal pain or numbness and tingling in your leg or legs, you may be suffering from a pinched nerve. Pinched nerve treatment should focus on decompressing your nerve to relieve your pain. Sometimes, a surgical procedure may be necessary to fully relieve your pain.

If you do require surgery for your pinched nerve, you should take time to learn about the different surgeries available and the cost and expected recovery time of each procedure. By understanding your surgical procedure and the approach that your surgeon will use, you can better plan your recovery and have control over your finances after surgery.
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