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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > General Surgery & Neurosurgery > Pinched Nerve Treatment

Pinched Nerve Treatment Cost


How Much Does Pinched Nerve Treatment Cost?

 
average costWith Health Insurance: Copay + 10%-50% Coinsurancehigh costWithout Health Insurance: $8,000-$150,000+
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A pinched nerve occurs when a nerve is compressed to the point that it can no longer function properly. Causes can include a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, bone spurs, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome or an injury. Symptoms can include pain, numbness and tingling.

Typical costs:

  • For patients covered by health insurance, out-of-pocket costs typically consist of doctor visit copays, prescription drug copays or coinsurance of 10%-50%. Treatment for a pinched nerve typically is covered by insurance, but certain treatments might be excluded, depending on the plan.
  • For patients not covered by health insurance, treatment for a pinched nerve can cost less than $300 for a doctor visit, rest, ice and over-the-counter pain medication; it can cost $50-$350 per session -- or a total of hundreds or thousands of dollars -- for physical therapy; it can cost up to $1,000-$5,000 or more per year for anticonvulsant medications prescribed to treat nerve pain; and it can cost about $8,000 for carpal tunnel release surgery; and it can cost $20,000-$150,000 or more for spinal surgery.
  • For example, if the pinched nerve is caused by carpal tunnel syndrome, a doctor visit would cost up to $200 and a wrist brace would cost about $20-$40. Drugstore.com charges about $20-$100 or more, depending on dose, for a one-month supply of the generic drug gabapentin[1] , and charges from less than $70 to $400 or more, depending on dose, for the brand-name equivalent, Neurontin[2] . And Drugstore.com charges about $100-$250 or more for a one-month supply of the drug Lyrica[3] .
  • Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center[4] charges about $7,600, after a 30% uninsured discount, for a carpal tunnel release surgery. Herniated disc surgery typically costs $20,000-$50,000, while back surgery for spinal stenosis costs $50,000-$90,000 and spinal fusion surgery costs $80,000-$150,000.
Related articles: Stenosis Treatment, Carpal Tunnel Treatment, Physical Therapy, Back Surgery, Herniated Disc Surgery, Spinal Decompression

What should be included:
  • A doctor might first prescribe rest, ice and possibly an anti-inflammatory medication. If symptoms do not resolve or are severe, the doctor might prescribe an anticonvulsant medication such as gabapentin[5] (brand name Neurontin) or pregabalin[6] (brand name Lyrica), both of which can be used for nerve pain. A doctor might recommend physical therapy to improve strength and flexibility, and reduce pain. According to MedicineNet.com[7] , most patients recover with these conservative treatments. Recovery can take several weeks or longer.
  • If those treatments do not work, and/or if the patient experiences muscle weakness that gets progressively worse -- a sign of nerve damage -- surgery might be recommended. Surgeries used for pinched nerves include a carpal tunnel release[8] , a diskectomy[9] or a laminectomy[10] . In some cases, spinal fusion[11] is required.
  • MedicineNet.com[12] has an overview of pinched nerves and treatment.
Additional costs:
  • Some patients who have surgery might require a cane, which typically costs about $15-$80, or a walker, which can cost $200 or more.
Discounts:
  • Many hospitals and doctors give discounts of up to 30% or more to uninsured/cash-paying patients. For example, Washington Hospital Healthcare System[13] in California offers a 35% discount.
  • Some drug manufacturers offer patient assistance programs. Any patient without prescription drug coverage who also is not eligible for Medicare typically qualifies for the Together Rx Access[14] , a discount card that offers 25%-40% off brand-name drugs from many pharmaceutical companies. Most companies also offer free drugs to patients who have no coverage and meet certain criteria.
Shopping for pinched nerve treatment:
  • A family doctor can provide a diagnosis and initial treatment. If symptoms do not resolve or are severe, the doctor can make a referral to a specialist such as a neurologist, an orthopaedic surgeon or neurosurgeon. Or, the American Academy of Neurology offers a neurologist locator[15] . A neurologist should be board-certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology[16] . The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery offers an orthopaedic-surgeon finder[17] . And the American Board of Neurological Surgery offers a neurosurgeon locator[18] .
  • Both orthopaedic surgeons and neurosurgeons can perform surgery on the spine. SpineUniverse.com, a site run by orthopaedic surgeons and neurosurgeons, offers advice on choosing between an orthopaedic surgeon and a neurosurgeon[19] . The American Physical Therapy Association offers a physical-therapist locator. Physical therapists are licensed at the state level after passing an exam, and it is important to verify that a provider is licensed. The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy offers contact information[20] for each state licensing body.
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
 
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External Resources:
  1.  www.drugstore.com/gabapentin/qxdgabapentin
  2.  www.drugstore.com/neurontin/qxdneurontin
  3.  www.drugstore.com/lyrica/qxdlyrica
  4.  patients.dartmouth-hitchcock.org/billing_questions/out_of_pocket_estimator_dhmc.html?&s...
  5.  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000940/
  6.  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000327/
  7.  www.medicinenet.com/pinched_nerve/page5.htm
  8.  www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002976.htm
  9.  www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/007250.htm
  10.  www.mayoclinic.com/health/laminectomy/MY00674
  11.  orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00348
  12.  www.medicinenet.com/pinched_nerve/article.htm
  13.  www.whhs.com/about/washington-hospital-discount-policy-for-uninsured/
  14.  www.togetherrxaccess.com/p/prescription-savings/about-together-rx-access/enroll.aspx
  15.  patients.aan.com/findaneurologist/
  16.  application.abpn.com/verifycert/verifycert.asp
  17.  www.abos.org/find-a-certified-orthopaedic-surgeon.aspx
  18.  www.abns.org/diplomates/default.aspx
  19.  www.spineuniverse.com/treatments/surgery/neurosurgeon-or-orthopedic-surgeon-does-matter
  20.  /www.fsbpt.org/LicensingAuthorities/index.asp
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