When is Surgery Required for Pinched Nerve?
A pinched nerve is said to occur whenever a nerve is compressed either by a bone, tendon, or a ligament. The most common cause of a pinched nerve is repetitive movement of a particular area like bending, twisting, torquing, or keeping a joint in one place for prolonged periods like while working in front of a computer for prolonged period of time.
The nerves that are most likely to get compressed or pinched are those nerves that travel through narrow spaces within the body such as the cervical or the lumbar spine. In some cases, a bony overgrowth called bone spurs also cause compression of nerves resulting in pinched nerve.
Normally, conservative treatment is recommended for pinched nerves by way of activity modifications, heat or ice therapy, or physical therapy. These treatments tend to provide good relief of symptoms but this relief is short lived and sooner rather than later there is recurrence of symptoms.
A surgery for pinched nerve is recommended for individuals who have worsening of symptoms despite conservative treatments as mentioned above. Such individuals are recommended to undergo surgery called spinal decompression which is a minimally invasive surgery with very little recovery period. This article gives a brief overview of the recovery time for pinched nerve surgery.
Recovery Time for Pinched Nerve Surgery
There are certain things that need to be kept in mind after surgery for a pinched nerve. For the few days after the surgery, there will be some sort of discomfort and the individual should not expect pain relief as soon as the surgery for pinched nerve is over. This discomfort will take some time and go away on its own. The individual may be provided pain medications for pain relief.
In some cases, the severe symptoms of a pinched nerve may linger on for some period of time after the surgery which may make the individual think that the surgery is unsuccessful but since each individual is different while it takes less time for symptoms to go away in some individuals it takes a while longer in others for complete relief of symptoms. It should be kept in mind that eventually the symptoms will go away.
Even if the individual has a nature of being active and be up and about everyday after a surgery for pinched nerve he or she will need assistance with day to day task for the first few days after surgery until the symptoms completely resolve.
Coming to the recovery period after a pinched nerve surgery, under normal circumstances it takes about three to four weeks before the individual starts to see some relief of symptoms after a decompression surgery. If along with a decompression, a spinal fusion is also done, then it takes more time to recover from the surgery for pinched nerve. Normally, it will take around three months for the individual to recover from surgery for a pinched nerve but the recovery process goes on till about a year. Thus it takes anywhere from 3 to 12 months for an individual to recover completely from a pinched nerve surgery depending on the type of surgery performed to treat the condition.
The success rate of a pinched nerve surgery is about 80% thus majority of people undergoing surgery will experience relief of symptoms after a pinched nerve surgery.
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