Pinched Nerve Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments
When too much pressure is placed on a nerve that surrounds bones, tendons, muscles, or other tissues, a pinched nerve may arise. A pinched nerve impedes the nerve’s function and leads to weakness, tingling, and numbness.
Pinched nerves can occur at different areas in your body. For instance, a ruptured disk in your lower spine may bring pressure to your nerve root and cause pain that may radiate down the back of your leg. Similarly, a pinched nerve on your wrist can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome and cause numbness and pain in your fingers and hands.
Fortunately, a sufficient amount of rest paired with other conservative methods can help you relieve the pain that you may feel with a pinched nerve. However, sometimes surgery is necessary to alleviate this pain.
What are the Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve?
There are a number of different signs and symptoms that may reflect a pinched nerve. Some of the most common symptoms of a pinched nerve include numbness in the location supplied by the nerve, muscle weakness in the affected area, hands and feet that “fall asleep” often, tingling sensations that feel like pins and needles, and sharp pain that radiates outward. You may also experience a worsening of these symptoms when you are sleeping.
What Causes a Pinched Nerve?
Too much pressure or compression that is applied to a nerve by surrounding tissues lead to a pinched nerve. Pinched nerves can occur from a wide array of degenerative spine conditions such as ruptured discs, bone spurs, spinal stenosis, and others.
Pinched nerves in the wrist can be caused by carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is when the median nerve leads to compression as it passes through the tissues of the wrist.
Additionally, common conditions that may lead to tissue that compresses a nerve include obesity, certain sports or hobbies, poor posture, injuries, wrist arthritis, or stress from repeating a certain movement.
How is a Pinched Nerve Treated?
Rest for the affected area is the most commonly suggested treatment for a pinched nerve. A doctor may recommend that you stop or minimize any activities that may cause or provoke compression. You may also need a brace or splint to immobilize the affected area. If you do have carpal tunnel syndrome, a splint to be worn throughout the day as well as at night may be recommended as well. If rest and conservative treatments do not help your pinched nerve, the following treatments may help:
- Medications. Anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or naproxen may be prescribed to help relieve pinched nerves. Corticosteroid injections can also help relieve inflammation and pain.
- Physical Therapy. Exercises prescribed by a physical therapist that stretch and strengthen the muscles in the affected area may relieve nerve pressure. Changes to activities that may harm the nerve might be made by a physical therapist.
- Surgery. Surgery is only an option if a pinched nerve doesn’t get better after several weeks to a few months with non-invasive treatments. Surgery types vary depending on the the location of the pinched nerve. It may involve the removal of part of a ruptured disk or bone spurs in the spine to create more space for the nerve to pass through the wrist.
For support relieving your pinched nerve, the spine and pain experts at EmergeOrtho: Foothills Region are an excellent resource. We are located in the Unifour area and offer top-notch care by board-certified professionals. When you schedule an appointment at our treatment facility, you will not need an MRI.
If surgery is required for your pinched nerve, it will be performed at a hospital in the Unifour area to save you the inconvenience of a long drive. You can select from one of the following hospital facilities for your surgery: Frye Regional Medical Center & Catawba Valley Medical Center in Hickory, Caldwell UNC Healthcare in Lenoir, or Carolinas Healthcare System Blue Ridge in Morganton.