Pinched Nerve Causes
If you have a pinched nerve you may experience neck pain that travels down your arm or back pain that runs down your leg. Pinched nerves can occur whenever abnormal pressure, constriction or stretch is applied to a nerve by surrounding bones, cartilage, muscles or tendons. This increased pressure interferes with the nerve’s function, resulting in pain, tingling, numbness or weakness. Some frequently diagnosed examples of pinched nerves include sciatica and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Common Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve
Common symptoms of pinched nerves include:
- Numbness of the area supplied by the nerve.
- Sharp, achy or burning pain, which typically radiates away from the spine (down and arm or leg).
- Sensations of tingling or pins and needles also known as paresthesias.
- Muscle weakness or loss of coordination / clumsiness.
- Feeling as though your hand, arm, foot or leg has fallen asleep.
The symptoms that you experience with a pinched nerve can worsen while you are sleeping.
There are a number of different conditions that will increase your chances of experiencing pinched nerves. Some of this include:
- Injury such as those suffered in a car accident
- Bad posture, postural stress
- Rheumatoid / osteoarthritis
- Repetitive stress from work (carpal tunnel)
- Hobbies that require fine repetitive movements
- Sports injuries
- Obesity (increases stress on joints and can cause discs to bulge and joints to develop osteoarthritis)
- Pregnancy (increases in weight combined with water retention can pinch nerves)
- Thyroid problems can increase the chance of nerve compression -, especially carpal tunnel.
Increased pressure on a nerve causes local inflammation and interferes with the nerve’s function. It is important to take symptoms of a pinched nerve seriously and seek immediate diagnosis and treatment.
Early treatment gives you a better chance of avoiding permanent nerve damage. In most cases, nerve function will fully return once the pressure is relieved. However, if the pressure on the nerve is not relieved, chronic symptoms and permanent damage can occur.