When there is too much pressure applied to a nerve, its function may be disrupted, causing pain, weakness, or numbness. This condition is called pinched nerve. You can have a pinched nerve at almost any place in your body.
What are the symptoms of a pinched nerve?
You may have a pinched nerve if you experience the following signs and symptoms:
- Numbness or a reduced sense, or a partial loss of sensitivity in one area supplied by the affected nerve
- A sharp, burning pain extending outward
- A sensation of burning, itching, or pricking on the skin without obvious cause
- Muscle weakness and fatigue
- Loss of control over a hand or a leg
If you have one or more of the signs above, pay more attention to how the signs are. If they last for several days and do not respond to rest and over-the-counter painkillers, you need to seek medical help.
Causes of pinched nerve
In general, a pinched nerve occurs when a nerve’s surrounding tissue put too much pressure on it. Many conditions may cause tissue to put pressure on a nerve, including:
- Rheumatoid or wrist arthritis
- Occupational stress
- Sports activities
There is no need to worry if the nerve has just been pinched for a short period of time. Your nerve will get back to normal as soon as the stress is relieved. However, if left untreated, you may end up with chronic pain and permanent nerve damage.
Treatment for pinched nerve
If you have a pinched nerve, your doctor will probably recommend you to rest the affected area. You will need to avoid physical activities that may worsen your condition. Treatment options include:
Physical therapy to strengthen and stretch the muscles around the affected area, thus relieving the pressure on the nerve.
Medications to ease the pain caused by pinched nerve may be prescribed. Those include Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin IB) or naproxen sodium (Aleve). Corticosteroid injections may also help with the pain and inflammation.
If the pinched nerve does not respond to therapy and medication after a few months, you may need surgery to correct the nerve. Depending on the exact location of the affected nerve, your doctor will recommend a suitable type of surgery. Surgery may require the removal of certain parts of the surrounding bone, ligament, or cartilage to make room for the nerve.
Tips to prevent pinched nerve
- Maintain good posture. Avoid crossing your legs or staying in one position for too long.
- Exercise regularly. Don’t forget strength and flexibility exercises.
- Limit repetitive activities. If you have to engage in these activities due to professional duties, and take frequent breaks.
- Keep a healthy weight.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: May 12, 2017 | Last Modified: May 12, 2017
Pinched nerve. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pinched-nerve/home/ovc-20314332. Accessed May 10, 2017.