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Pinched Nerves and Sciatica in the Spine



Nearly 45 miles of nerves run through your body, and they all begin in the brain. The spinal cord extends from brain and smaller nerves branch from the spinal cord to innervate your entire body. The spinal cord is protected by 24 adult vertebral bones and nerve branches extend out into the body from between each vertebra. Each vertebra is separated by an intervertebral disc, which cushions your spine during impact and allows flexibility during movement. Impingement of the spinal cord or the nerves extending from the vertebral column can be a source of discomfort and pain.

Definition of Pinched Nerve

A pinched nerve is a term to describe a variety of injury to a nerve or group of nerves caused by compression, constriction or stretching.

A pinched vertebral nerve root can be severe and cause pain to entire segments of the body.

Some symptoms to note of are pain, numbness, tingling sensation or muscle weakness. A sharp burning pain may radiate outward from the location of the pinched nerve. Sometimes, sleeping can aggravate pinched nerves and cause further nerve injury too.

Definition of Sciatica

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body running from the lower back to both legs. It is a symptom, not a medical condition, defined with pain, numbness or tingling sensation caused by pinching pressure on the sciatic nerve, at one side of the body affecting either leg.

Causes of Pinched Nerves

Spinal disc abnormality

Bone fractures & Osteoarthritis

Piriformis syndrome

Repetitive impact







Medication & Injections


After a proper medical diagnosis, which may include nerve conduction studies or an MRI, non-invasive treatments will begin. Physiotherapy treatment for sciatica and pinched nerve will target strengthening and stretching muscles surrounding the affected nerve and relieving nerve pressure.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil, Motrin and Aleve can help eliminate pain and inflammation surrounding a pinched nerve. Severe pain may require stronger dosage. At times, corticosteroid injections may be administered to reduce pain and inflammation.

If a pinched nerve does not respond to non-invasive treatment, depending on location of the pinched nerve, surgery might be required.

Featured Doctors

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Dr Prem Pillay


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