What is Nerve Compression Syndrome?
Nerve compression syndrome occurs when a nerve is squeezed or compacted. It typically occurs at a single location. Nerves in the torso, limbs, and extremities may be affected.
Nerve compression syndrome is also known as:
- Nerve entrapment syndrome
- Compression neuropathy
- Entrapment neuropathy
- Trapped nerve
How common is Nerve Compression Syndrome?
Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
What are the symptoms of Nerve Compression Syndrome?
The common symptoms of Nerve Compression Syndrome are:
- Redness, swelling, and inflammation
- Aches and pain
- Tingling or numbness
- Muscle weakness
- Reduced flexibility
- Difficulty with certain movements
Symptoms vary based on the type of nerve compression syndrome and location. They tend to occur at the site of the compression, and sometimes in surrounding areas and structures.
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
What causes Nerve Compression Syndrome?
Nerve compression syndrome is often caused by repetitive injuries. These injuries may occur in the workplace due to repeated movements related to your job duties. For example, repeated overextension of the wrist while typing on a keyboard, using a mouse, or playing the piano can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Accidents such as sprains, fractures, and broken bones can also cause nerve compression syndrome.
In addition, certain medical conditions can trigger or make you more susceptible to nerve compression syndromes. These include:
- Autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis
- Thyroid dysfunction
- High blood pressure
- Tumors and cysts
- Pregnancy or menopause
- Congenital (birth) defects
- Neural disorders
Repetitive injuries, accidents, and medical conditions may lead to:
- Reduced blood flow to the nerve
- Swelling in the nerve and surrounding structures
- Damage to the nerve’s insulation (the myelin sheath)
- Structural changes in the nerve
All of these changes have a negative impact on the nerve’s ability to send and receive messages. This can cause symptoms such as pain, numbness, and reduced function.
What increases my risk for Nerve Compression Syndrome?
There are many risk factors for Nerve Compression Syndrome, such as:
- Age: Adults over the age of 30 are more susceptible.
- Gender: Women are more likely to develop certain types of nerve compression syndrome, including carpal tunnel.
- Occupation: Having a job that involves repeating certain movements can make you more likely to sustain a repetitive injury. People who use computers for long periods of time, as well as those who do manual work, may be at an increased risk.
- Certain medical conditions: You may be more susceptible if you have a medical condition that impacts circulation or nerve function.
Diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is Nerve Compression Syndrome diagnosed?
A doctor will assess your symptoms. The doctor may then use a physical examination and diagnostic tests to identify nerve compression syndrome.
Some tests used to diagnose rarer forms of nerve compression syndrome include:
- Nerve conduction tests
For carpal tunnel and cubital tunnel syndrome, diagnostic tests aren’t always necessary. Still, they may provide helpful information about the location and severity of the compression.
How is Nerve Compression Syndrome treated?
How long it takes for symptoms to end can vary from person to person. Treatment varies, depending on the severity and cause of the nerve compression.
You may find that you benefit greatly from simply resting the injured area and by avoiding any activities that tend to worsen your symptoms. In many cases, that’s all you need to do.
If symptoms persist or pain is severe, see your doctor. You may need one or more types of treatment to shrink swollen tissue around the nerve.
In more severe cases, it may be necessary to remove material that’s pressing on a nerve, such as:
- Scar tissue
- Disc material
- Pieces of bone
Treatment may include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen may reduce swelling.
- Oral corticosteroids. These are used to reduce swelling and pain.
- These are used for brief periods to reduce severe pain.
- Steroid injections. These injections may reduce swelling and allow inflamed nerves to recover.
- Physical therapy. This will help stretch and strengthen muscles.
- A splint or soft collar limits motion and allows muscles to rest for brief periods.
- Surgery may be needed for more severe problems that don’t respond to other types of treatment.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage Nerve Compression Syndrome?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with Nerve Compression Syndrome:
- Icing the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes
- Applying topical creams, such as menthol
- Stopping activities that cause pain
- Taking regular breaks when doing repetitive tasks
- Wearing a splint or brace
- Using relaxation exercises
- Keeping the affected area warm
- Elevating the affected area
- Doing stretches and exercises to improve strength and flexibility
Avoiding movements that cause pain, adopting ergonomic strategies at work and at home, or changing job duties may improve symptoms. When obesity is the cause of nerve compression syndrome, losing weight can improve symptoms.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Nerve Compression Syndrome. https://www.healthline.com/health/nerve-compression-syndrome#causes. Accessed May 21, 2018.
Pinched (Compressed) Nerve. https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/compressed-nerves#2-4. Accessed May 21, 2018.
Review Date: May 22, 2018 | Last Modified: May 22, 2018