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A pinched nerve can occur when too much pressure is put on one of your nerves by surrounding tissues such as bones, muscles or tendons. Your nerve can be squeezed, impacting its function and causing pain or numbness.
Pinched nerves can occur in various places. Herniated discs in the lower spine can put pressure on the nerve root, causing pain that shoots down your leg, for example. A compressed nerve can cause pain or tingling in your hand, often leading to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Reduce your risk.
There are several conditions that can cause surrounding tissues to compress a nerve, often including injury from sports or an accident, rheumatoid or wrist arthritis, stress on the nerve from repetitive activity, herniated discs, bone spurs or obesity. If you are pregnant, you may experience a pinched nerve due to increased weight and water retention.
If a nerve is pinched only for a brief period of time, there is usually no lasting damage. After the pressure is relieved, your nerve function and sensation will return to normal. However, if the pressure continues, then prolonged, chronic pain and more permanent nerve damage are likely to occur.
Pinpoint your pain.
Symptoms of a pinched nerve could include numbness or a lack of sensation in the area surrounding the nerve, or sharp, burning pain that radiates outward. Often, a pinched nerve is accompanied by tingling or the sensation of “pins and needles.” Symptoms sometimes worsen while you’re sleeping.
If the pinched nerve is in the spine, certain neck movements, such as turning or straining your neck, may be limited and increase your pain. If your pain lasts more than a couple of days and doesn’t subside with rest or over-the-counter pain relief medication, you should contact the elite team at Kayal Pain & Spine Center.
Get the answers you need.
Your Kayal Pain & Spine Center specialist will discuss your symptoms and conduct a physical examination. Your doctor may recommend tests, such as a nerve conduction study to measure electrical nerve impulses in the muscles. Electromyography tests may be done to evaluate the electrical activity of the muscles and can highlight possible damage to the nerves leading to the muscle.
In some cases, your Kayal Pain & Spine Center specialist may recommend an MRI or ultrasound because they can be particularly helpful in diagnosing nerve compression such as carpal tunnel.
Life’s too short to put up with pain.
The most commonly recommended treatment for a pinched nerve is rest. Your Kayal Pain & Spine Center specialist will likely recommend ceasing any activity that aggravates the nerve compression. Sometimes, you may need to use a splint or brace to prevent further movement and strain on the area, particularly for cases of carpal tunnel.
Physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medication may be recommended to strengthen your muscles and relieve pain in cases of less severe pinched nerves. However, if the compressed nerve shows no sign of improvement after several weeks with the noninvasive treatment, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove pressure from the nerve. This may include the removal of bone spurs or a herniated disc. At Kayal Pain & Spine Center, your surgeon will discuss the right treatment for you based on your history, symptoms and noninvasive treatments.