How We Can Help You for a Pinched Nerve
The doctors in the Stanford Medicine Spine Center have the experience needed to effectively treat a pinched nerve. You may experience a pinched nerve when damage to a vertebral bone or disc in your neck or back puts pressure on a nearby nerve root.
We help relieve the symptoms of a pinched nerve—also called a compressed nerve or a radiculopathy (pronounced “rah-DIK-you-lop-uh-thee”). Symptoms most commonly include a sharp pain in the neck, shoulder, arm, hand, leg, or back. A pinched nerve may cause tingling, numbness, or burning. Weakness in the arms also may result.
For many people, symptoms get better with time and go away. When they don’t, our team offers complete treatment options. We always emphasize the least invasive treatment approaches possible, such as physical therapy, special exercises, plus medication to relieve pain and swelling. If surgery is needed, we have experience with all procedures.
Stanford Medicine Spine Center patients with pinched nerves also may have opportunities to participate in research studies of new treatment approaches not yet available anywhere else.
What We Offer You For a Pinched Nerve
- Center of Excellence for advanced care of all spine-related conditions.
- Nationally recognized expertise in treating all types of pinched nerves, no matter how complex.
- Precise diagnosis options including the latest imaging technology.
- Team-based treatment planning that brings together orthopaedic surgeons, neurologists and neurosurgeons, pain management specialists, rheumatologists, physiatrists, and others to tailor care to your needs.
- Advanced treatment options emphasizing noninvasive approaches whenever possible, including exercises, physical therapy, and medication therapy, and, when needed, spine surgery.
- Comprehensive support services including care coordination from diagnosis to treatment to follow-up.
- Active research program to develop new diagnostic and treatment advances.
Treatments for a Pinched Nerve
In some cases, a pinched nerve will heal on its own. In other cases, treatment is needed.
The Stanford Medicine Spine Center use the most advanced techniques. We have experience with all treatment approaches and emphasize minimally invasive options whenever appropriate. These may include medication for pain and swelling. Physical therapy and special exercises also may help.
Our team includes doctors from orthopaedics, neurology, neurosurgery, rheumatology, physiatry, pain management, and other specialties. They work together to ensure you receive the most effective treatment possible.
For many people, symptoms of a pinched nerve get better over time then go away.
Emphasizing noninvasive treatment approaches
Options to treat a pinched nerve include:
- Ice: Apply directly to the affected area.
- Over-the-counter medication: Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen, may help relieve symptoms. Be sure to talk with your doctor before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications.
- Prescription medication: Your doctor may recommend a prescription steroid treatment to reduce swelling and inflammation.
- Physical therapy: Your doctor may prescribe physical therapy to help minimize pain through stretching and exercise.
- Epidural steroid injection: An injection can help decrease inflammation caused by the pressure of the disc herniation on the nerve.
If nonsurgical treatments aren’t effective, our team has extensive experience with all surgical procedures for a pinched nerve.
Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest clinical trials.
Open trials refer to studies that are currently recruiting participants or that may recruit participants in the near future.
What Is a Pinched Nerve?
A pinched nerve in the neck—sometimes called a compressed nerve or a radiculopathy—happens when a vertebral bone or disc along your spine is damaged. Damage can occur from injury, arthritis, aging, and more. Changes resulting from the damage can cause bones, muscles, tendons, or cartilage to put pressure on a nearby nerve root, pinching it.