Pinched Nerve
(Nerve Entrapment or Nerve Compression)

Pinched Nerve Summary
A pinched nerve can be caused of a variety of conditions, for example, carpal tunnel syndrome, herniated disc, sciatica, arthritis, spinal stenosis, trauma, and more. Common symptoms of a pinched nerve include pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness. Treatment of a pinched nerve depends on the cause of the pinched nerve.
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Pinched nerve facts

  • Nerves carry electrical signals from the brain to the body and vice-versa.
  • A pinched nerve can cause pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness along the path of the pinched nerve.
  • Most people improve from a pinched nerve with rest, ice, medication or physical therapy.
  • Weakness or wasting of the muscles from a pinched nerve can suggest permanent nerve injury.

Introduction to pinched nerve

Nerves are like electrical cords distributed throughout the entire body that carry information from the brain to the rest of the body and vice-versa.

  • Motor (efferent) nerves carry information from the brain out to the body. This allows the brain to send commands to the various organs of the body. For example, these commands are sent to the muscles causing them to contract and move, or to the heart to either beat faster or slower.
  • Sensory (afferent) nerves send information from the body back to the brain for processing, including information about pain, touch, taste, temperature, or other sensations.

The information travels along the nerve by an electrochemical signal, much like information traveling along an electrical cord. When a nerve is pinched, the signal is interrupted somewhere along its path.

What causes a pinched nerve?

A pinched nerve is caused when a nerve is somehow damaged or injured by direct pressure or compression and is unable to properly conduct its signal. There are many potential causes for a pinched nerve, depending on the location of the nerve.

Pinched nerve in the neck or lower back

A pinched nerve in the neck or lower back can be caused by a herniated disc, arthritis, bone spurs, or spinal stenosis.

Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal through which the nerves pass with the spine. A pinched nerve in the lower back or buttock can compress the sciatic nerve, which can cause sciatica.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/17/2014

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Pinched Nerve - In Neck, Treatment Question: What was the treatment for your pinched nerve?
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