Spinal nerve decompressions is performed when a pinched spinal nerve causes pain, numbness, and/or weakness. In most cases, conservative treatment options like physical therapy, anti-inflammatories and injections can be enough to decrease symptoms and help patients live a normal life. However, in some cases, the nerve can be pinched to the degree that surgical intervention in the form of a spinal nerve decompression is necessary.
Understanding Spine Anatomy
The spine is made up of vertebrae that align to form the spinal canal—a narrow tunnel that the spinal cord runs through. Vertebral bone or disc abnormalities can pinch the spinal cord and/or spinal nerves that branch out to the muscles and organs of the body. When this occurs, the nerve is said to be “pinched”.
Illustration 1- A bone spur pinching the nerve
Causes of a Pinched Spinal Nerve
The two most common causes of a pinched nerve are:
- Degenerative disc disease. Wear and tear due to age and/or injury can cause vertebrae to change shape. These bone spurs that form can pinch nerves.
- A Herniated Disc. The intervertebral discs of the spine lie between adjacent vertebrae. They act as “shock absorbers” that decrease the stress placed on vertebrae during walking, running, and other movements. A worn or injured disc is prone to “slip” or herniate. A herniated disc can protrude into the spinal canal and pinch the cord or nerve root.
Illustration 2- A herniated disc pinching the nerve
As previously mentioned, pinched nerves that won’t respond to conservative treatment can be decompressed surgically.
Spinal Nerve Decompression
The purpose of a spinal nerve decompression is to remove what is pinching the nerve. The two most common decompression procedures are:
- The removal of nerve compressing bone and/or soft tissue.
- The removal of a herniated disc.
Both procedures can be performed as a minimally invasive procedure.
If you’re experiencing back or leg pain, weakness, and/or numbness that won’t go away, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices to arrange an appointment with one of our Orthopedic Spine Specialists. We have locations in Glen Rock and Maywood, NJ.
The spine specialists at New Jersey Spinal Medicine and Surgery treat conditions of the cervical and lumbar spine using both non-surgical and surgical modalities. New Jersey Spinal Medicine and Surgery is led by Dr. Dante Implicito and Dr. John Koerner. Both physicians have extensive training and experience in the utilization of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery techniques as well as non-surgical techniques. Our doctors are regarded as New Jersey’s leading experts in Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery.
Once your condition has been evaluated and diagnosed, a treatment plan will be made. If a nerve decompression is recommended, you’ll be given all the information you need to make a decision that’s right for you. Remember, the road to recovery starts when you walk through our doors.