Pinched Nerve

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When too much pressure is applied to a nerve by surrounding tissues, such as bones, cartilage, muscles or tendons, patients can develop a pinched nerve. This pressure disrupts the nerve’s function and causes a variety of symptoms, including pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness.

A pinched nerve can occur at a number of sites in the body as a result of conditions like a herniated disc and carpal tunnel syndrome.


Symptoms


Signs and symptoms of a pinched nerve include:

  • Numbness or decreased sensation in the area connected to the nerve
  • Sharp, aching, or burning pain that may radiate outward
  • Tingling, pins, and needles sensations (paresthesia)
  • Muscle weakness in the affected area
  • Frequent feeling that a foot or hand has “fallen asleep”

Symptoms of a pinched nerve may worsen during sleep.

Woman-experiencing-neck-pain-from-a-pinched-nerve
Man-experiencing-carpal-tunnel-syndrome-from-pinched-nerve

Causes


A pinched nerve occurs when too much pressure, or compression, is applied to a nerve by surrounding tissues, bone, cartilage, muscle, or tendons.

Carpal tunnel syndrome, for example, occurs when a variety of tissues compress the carpal tunnel’s median nerve, including swollen tendon sheaths within the tunnel, enlarged bone that narrows the tunnel, or a thickened and worn out ligament.

Nerve compression may be caused by:

  • Injury
  • Rheumatoid or wrist arthritis
  • Stress caused by repetitive work
  • Hobbies or sports activities
  • Obesity

A temporary pinched nerve doesn’t typically cause permanent damage. If the pressure is quickly relieved, nerve function returns to normal. But if nerve compression is left untreated, patients can experience chronic pain and permanent nerve damage.

Risk Factors


The likelihood of experiencing a pinched nerve may be increased by the following factors:

  • Bone spurs
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Thyroid arthritis
  • Thyroid disease
  • Diabetes
  • Overuse
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Prolonged bed rest
Woman-receiving-soft-tissue-injection-for-pinched-nerve

Treatment Options for a Pinched Nerve


At Westcare Clinics, patients experiencing pain caused by a pinched nerve may require a treatment plan that includes pain management techniques, joint and soft tissue injections, and occupational medicine. The right approach to treatment will depend on the patient’s pain level and overall physical condition.

Treatment for a pinched nerve may incorporate pain management techniques, such as cold and heat therapy, gentle exercise, mind-body techniques, physical therapy, biofeedback, music therapy, therapeutic massage, and occupational therapy to help manage their symptoms. Each patient will receive personalized recommendations from their doctor for managing pain.

Westcare Clinics also offers joint and soft tissue injections to help minimize pain associated with a pinched nerve. These injections may include piriformis injection, epidural injections (interlaminar and transforaminal), sacroiliac joint injections, and trigger point injections.

Westcare Clinics offers occupational medicine for patients who need to continue working in spite of the limitations created by their condition. Our team of healthcare practitioners is also available to help employers adapt the workplace and worker responsibilities according to the physical limitations of an employee suffering from a pinched nerve.

Advanced Treatment


Patients experiencing severe symptoms may need further treatment to manage pain. Advanced treatment for a pinched nerve may include chiropractic adjustment, surgery, physical therapy, acupuncture, and other forms of rehabilitation. The Westcare Clinics team is happy to answer any questions patients may have about obtaining advanced treatment.

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