A pinched nerve can produce uncomfortable and possibly painful sensations in the affected area. The pain and numbness are a result of increased pressure that leads to irritation or damage to a nerve. It’s common to see pinched nerves involving back pain or neck injury, but almost any nerve is susceptible.
What Is a Pinched Nerve?
A pinched nerve comes about when there is too much pressure on a nerve. This compression disturbs the nerve’s functioning, which can cause tingling, pain, weakness, and numbness.
You can get a pinched nerve in many different places on the body. A herniated or bulging disk in the spine can put pressure on the sciatic nerve that causes pain that shoots down the back of your leg- sciatica. Another scenario could be carpal tunnel syndrome where a pinched nerve in the wrist can result in numbness and pain in the hand and fingers.
Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve
The more common symptoms of a pinched nerve include:
- Numbness decreased sensation or tingling in the area served by the nerve
- Sharp pain in the area of compression, which may radiate outward
- Pins and needles sensations or burning sensations
- Muscle weakness in the affected area
- Your hand or foot “falls asleep” often
- Sometimes symptoms worsen while sleeping or when attempting certain movements such as turning the head or neck
What Causes a Pinched Nerve?
Pinched nerve compression can have one of several causes. The tissue surrounding the nerve that puts pressure on the pinched nerve could be:
- A Combination of Tissues
Different conditions can lead to these tissues compressing a nerve, including:
- Traumatic Injuries
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Repetitive Work Stress Injuries (i.e typing on a computer)
- Hobbies or Sports Activities
Pinched Nerve Risk Factors
Some risk factors can include:
A significant risk factor for a pinched nerve is a herniated disk where the bone in the spine puts pressure on a nerve.
Your Job or Hobby
If your job (i.e. administrative worker) or hobby (i.e. knitting) involves doing hand or arm repetitive motions, it can put you at risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Thyroid disease sufferers are at higher risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
The inflammation due to rheumatoid arthritis can cause nerve compression, especially in the joints.
Pinched Nerve Prevention Techniques
There are many contributing factors that can cause a pinched nerve to develop. Some can’t be avoided, such as aging or accidental injury. Lifestyle choices like posture, smoking, and diet can be controlled. If you have had pinched nerve pain before, or if you’re at risk for it, talk with your doctor about the causes and risk factors for a pinched nerve to give you a better chance of avoiding chronic pain in the future.
Treatment Options for a Pinched Nerve
Your pinched nerve treatment options will depend on where the affected nerve is located, any underlying conditions causing nerve compression, and the location of the affected area the nerve supplies.
It is recommended you see a board-certified neurologist if you suspect you have a pinched nerve. Your neurologist can relieve numbness and tingling by reducing the pressure on your nerves using one of the many neuropathy treatment options available. Your doctor will choose the right ones for you depending on your symptoms and their cause. Seek treatment as soon as possible since nerve pain can sometimes indicate a serious condition.
Schedule your appointment today with Complete Neurological Care to determine if you have a pinched nerve. We have convenient locations in Queens, Manhattan, Long Island, the Bronx, and New Jersey. Our doctors have the skills and cutting-edge technology for a quick diagnosis and effective treatment for your neurological concerns.