“Pinched Nerve” What Is It And What Can I Do?
April 18, 2022
A pinched nerve can cause discomfort and debilitating pain. Depending on where the pinched nerve occurs in your body, this condition can affect your ability to work and carry out everyday tasks. However, with the help of a pinched nerve specialist, you may find relief from a pinched nerve without undergoing surgery.
This article provides an in-depth explanation of pinched nerves and the common causes of this condition. You’ll also learn more about the effective treatments for nerve compression.
What Is a Pinched Nerve?
A pinched nerve happens when a nerve is compressed by surrounding body tissue, such as bone, muscle, cartilage, or tendons. The increase in pressure damages the nerves, resulting in neurogenic pain and immobility.
Different types of pinched nerves exist, and they can occur at any location in the body:
- Cervical radiculopathy (neck)
- Thoracic radiculopathy (upper middle back)
- Lumbar radiculopathy (lower back)
- Ulnar neuropathy (hand)
- Carpal tunnel syndrome (wrist)
Anyone can sustain a pinched nerve. However, adults over 50 have a higher susceptibility for this condition, especially if they suffer from spine degeneration or arthritis.
The Causes of a Pinched Nerve
A wide range of factors can increase your risk for nerve compression. The most common causes of a pinched nerve include:
- Physical trauma, for example, a sports injury, twisting movement, or awkward lifting movement.
- Movement repetition, such as writing or typing.
- Spinal degeneration and bone growths that compress nerves.
- Rheumatoid arthritis and joint inflammation.
- Excess weight from obesity or pregnancy causing nerve pathway swelling.
After a thorough examination, your pinched nerve specialist should recommend a treatment to address the primary factors causing the nerve compression.
Wrist, Neck, and Back Pain: Common Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve
If you suffer from a pinched nerve, you will likely experience pain in some form. Because nerve compression pain is neurogenic, it differs from mechanical or muscle pain. Patients suffering from nerve compression typically complain of:
- A shooting pain.
- Dull or sharp aches.
- “Pins and needles” sensations or tingling.
- Numbness or a loss of feeling.
- Muscle weakness or difficulty gripping objects.
The diagnosis of nerve compression by a pinched nerve specialist typically involves a physical examination and imaging tests.
Treatment Recommendations From a Pinched Nerve Specialist
The treatment you need depends on the severity and location of the nerve compression. Common treatments for pinched nerves include:
- Undergoing heat and cold therapy.
- Administering corticosteroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen.
- Wearing hand splints or cervical collars to reduce motion.
- Undergoing physical therapy that involves exercising and stretching.
If nerve pathway swelling is causing your pinched nerve, your doctor might recommend making lifestyle changes to prevent the issue from recurring.
When to Seek Physical Therapy Help
If you experience pain that doesn’t subside within a few days, you should schedule an appointment with a pinched nerve specialist. At Gordon Physical Therapy - Spokane Valley, WA, we can provide you with a comprehensive care plan to address the nerve compression cause and provide pain relief. Call us today at 509.892.5442 to schedule an appointment with us!
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