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Pinched Nerve Specialist

Board Certified Neurosurgeon in Midtown Neighborhood, Little Rock, AR

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Pinched Nerve services offered in Little Rock, AR

That aching discomfort in your back, the burning pain in your arms or legs, and those frequent tension-type headaches you get may all be related to a pinched nerve in your spine. Ali Raja, MD, FAANS, FACS, at Neurosurgery Specialists of Arkansas in Little Rock, Arkansas, is a board-certified neurosurgeon who specializes in surgical and nonsurgical treatments for pinched spinal nerves. For a personalized treatment strategy that includes the most advanced therapies available for irritated and inflamed nerves, schedule an evaluation today by calling the office or requesting an appointment online. 

Pinched Nerve Q & A

What causes a pinched nerve?

Pinched nerves develop when surrounding tissue structures such as bones, ligaments, and spinal discs place pressure on a nerve. This can cause varying degrees of irritation and inflammation that may lead to significant pain and nerve dysfunction all along the area the nerve serves.

A pinched nerve in your neck (cervical spine), for instance, can cause symptoms that radiate (travel) into your head, shoulders, and arms.

Conditions that cause various spinal structures to slip out of place and pinch (compress) nearby nerves include:

  • Herniated discs
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Bone spurs
  • Spinal stenosis or narrowing of the spinal canal
  • Narrowing of the small spaces (foramen) where spinal nerves exit the canal
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and other inflammatory arthritis
  • Age-related changes that cause spinal ligaments to lose their elasticity  
  • Repetitive or overuse injuries related to sports, work activities, and hobbies

An injury related to a car accident, fall, or other trauma can result in spinal nerve impingement. Rarely, a spinal tumor may also cause painful nerve compression.

What are the symptoms of a pinched nerve?

Symptoms vary according to where the nerve is pinched. A pinched nerve in the lumbar spine (lower back), for example, often causes symptoms in the hips, buttocks, and backs of the thighs.

Your symptoms may include:

  • Pain at the site of nerve irritation that radiates outward
  • Sharp, burning, or shooting pain in the area served by the affected nerve
  • Numbness or altered sensation such as tingling in the arms or legs
  • Muscle weakness in the affected area
  • Difficulty with gait and coordination

Note that pain traveling from the back to the chest may be related to a pinched nerve in the mid to upper back (thoracic spine). However, this type of pain can also signal a heart attack and requires immediate medical attention.

How do you treat a pinched nerve?

Pinched nerves often respond well to conservative therapies, such as:

  • Rest and activity modification
  • Ice and/or heat therapy
  • Oral pain relievers and anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • Corticosteroids such as oral prednisone or epidural injections to reduce inflammation
  • Physical therapy

In some cases, Dr. Raja may recommend a facet joint injection to relieve inflammation and nerve irritation related to foraminal stenosis.

Should these conservative treatments fail, Dr. Raja considers discectomy, laminectomy, spinal fusion, or other surgical procedures to address the underlying condition causing your symptoms.

Schedule an evaluation at Neurosurgery Specialists of Arkansas today by calling the office or booking your visit online.