What is a pinched nerve?
A pinched nerve can occur when the tissues around it put the nerve under pressure. Bone, cartilage, tendon, or muscle pressing on a nerve can cause it to malfunction, resulting in pain, weakness, tingling sensations, or numbness.
You can experience the discomfort of a pinched nerve in many places around your body. A common condition caused by a pinched nerve is carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), where the tendon sheath may be swollen, or enlargement of the bone or a thickened ligament causes pressure on the median nerve running through your wrist. Herniated spinal discs are another frequent cause of pinched nerves, where the bulging disc between your vertebrae presses on the roots of the nerve running through your spine.
Other reasons you may have a pinched nerve include:
- Traumatic injury
- Repetitive strain injuries
- Sports injuries
- Being overweight or obese
As soon as the pressure is taken off the nerve, normal function should return. If nerve pain is left untreated and the pressure continues, it’s possible that you may permanently damage the nerve, leading to chronic pain problems.
What are the symptoms of a pinched nerve?
Generally, pinched nerves cause symptoms such as:
- Pins and needles
- Loss of sensation
- Weakened muscles
- Loss of function
Most pinched nerves also cause pain, which can be burning, aching, or sharp, and often radiates out from the nerve. Symptoms are frequently worse during or after sleeping. Your doctor can identify the nerve causing your symptoms using diagnostic imaging tests or a nerve conduction study (NCS).
What treatments are available for pinched nerves?
In many cases, resting the affected part of your body and refraining from activities that make your symptoms worse is enough to ease the pressure on the nerve. In some instances, you may need to wear a brace or a splint to keep pressure off the nerve while the area heals.
Physical therapy helps strengthen and relax muscles that are pressing on nerves, and your therapist can show you how to exercise the affected area and adapt the way you carry out daily activities to relieve pressure on the nerve.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help ease pain and inflammation, or you may need corticosteroid injections. In some cases, surgery provides the best solution. For example, a carpal tunnel release operation severs the carpal ligament in your hand to provide more room for the median nerve.
Pinched nerves can cause severe pain and may affect your mobility and dexterity, but the team of specialist physicians at Tarpon Interventional Pain & Spine Care can help relieve your discomfort and restore normal function. Schedule an appointment online or by phone today, 972-596-1059.