Pinched Nerve (cont.)

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Pinched nerve in the wrist or elbow

A pinched nerve in the wrist can be caused by carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition is caused by compression of the median nerve as it passes through confined tissues of the wrist. Cubital tunnel syndrome is a similar condition caused by compression of the ulnar nerve in the elbow. Both of these conditions are more common in people with diabetes and people who perform repetitive activities such as a typist, using a computer keyboard for long periods of time, or assembly line workers.

Other causes of pinched nerve

Swelling around a nerve can be caused by an injury, bruise, or other conditions, including the swelling of the extremities that can occur with pregnancy. An inherited tendency, as manifested by a family history of a similar condition, can also increase an individual's chance of developing a pinched nerve.

What are the symptoms of a pinched nerve?

The symptoms of a pinched nerve depend on what nerve is affected. Each nerve is responsible for sending information to or from specific parts of the body.

The most common symptoms of a pinched nerve are:

  • pain,
  • numbness,
  • tingling (pins and needles), or
  • weakness of the muscles along the path of the nerve.

A pinched nerve sensation may feel like, for example, the sensation when a part of your body has "fallen asleep." A pinched nerve can cause symptoms at the site of damage, or any location further down the path from the affected nerve.

  • A pinched nerve in the neck can cause neck pain or stiffness, along with symptoms down the arm.
  • A pinched nerve in the lower back causesback pain and stiffness with symptoms down the leg. A doctor can often identify which nerve is pinched in the neck or lower back based on what portion of the patient's arm or leg is affected.
  • A pinched nerve in the wrist from carpal tunnel syndrome typically affects the thumb, index, and middle fingers. It can also cause a weakness in the patient's grip strength, and atrophy of the muscle of the palm near the thumb. A pinched nerve in the elbow from cubital tunnel syndrome affects the forearm, the ring (fourth finger), and the small fingers of the hand.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/17/2014

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