It seems out of nowhere you find yourself experiencing sensations of numbness, tingling, burning or a pins and needles feeling. It can happen in your hand, a leg, your neck or elsewhere in your body. These are symptoms of a pinched nerve.
You may have already tried home remedies. Adjusting your posture is a common way of seeking pain relief. Moving to a more comfortable position often relieves the pain of a pinched nerve.
Resting and avoiding the activities that make the pain worse is recommended. Gentle stretches can sometimes help to remove pressure on the nerve. Even small stretching movements can be very helpful. Icing and/or heat applied to the painful area can be beneficial. Ice reduces swelling and inflammation while heat is used to relax tight muscles.
When home remedies and over-the-counter pain relievers do not seem to help much, or maybe even make your condition worse, you should seek help. If the pain or tingling is constant, severe or always returning, professional treatment may be required to resolve the pain.
Signs of a Pinched Nerve
A pinched nerve may or may not have symptoms that include pain. Sometimes pain is the defining symptom and can increase with certain movements. Besides pain, other symptoms may be:
- Numbness or tingling
- Burning sensation
- Bowel or bladder issues
- Difficulty grasping or holding objects
In many situations, minimal treatment is needed for a pinched nerve. However, if your symptoms are severe or ongoing, medical help can identify the cause, and treatment can resolve the issue.
Causes of a Pinched Nerve
A compressed, or pinched nerve, is one in which pressure is causing irritation. This can be caused by repetitive motions or staying in one position for long periods of time, such as sitting at a desk for hours. It can also happen when you sleep in one position for an extended period of time.
Areas where the nerves pass through vulnerable places in the body are most susceptible. These spaces are narrow with little protection, such as the elbows. Pinched nerves are common in the lower back and neck. Nerves can be pressed between ligaments, tendons and bone, causing discomfort.
Those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis may experience pinched nerves. The inflammation in joints caused by RA can put pressure on nerves resulting in more pain and discomfort.
Older adults are vulnerable to pain, such as sciatica and neck pain, due to the wear and tear on the spine. Spinal discs lose volume as you get older, and this leads to flattening, which causes the bones of the spine to get closer. This process leads to bony growths on the vertebrae that can compress the nerves.
Sports injuries and accidents can also cause pinched nerves. A herniated disc from lifting or pulling the wrong way can result in pressure on nerves. Other causes include extra weight from pregnancy or obesity and high glucose levels in the blood.
Mild cases of a pinched nerve are often resolved with home remedies, including rest and taking a break from activities that cause pain. Usually, the condition resolves in a month or six weeks. When these do not produce results, other therapies may help. Swollen tissue around the nerve may be the main problem, and reducing the swelling will help. Sometimes scar tissue, pieces of bone or disc material is pressing on the nerve and will need to be removed in order to stop the pain.
It is important to seek treatment for a pinched nerve. Serious problems can develop if it goes untreated. Chronic pain may become an issue which can lead to permanent nerve damage. Fluid and swelling pressing on a nerve can cause irreversible damage.
If you have been suffering with the discomfort of a pinched nerve and it has not resolved or is severe, contact Manhattan Sports Therapy. Dr. Rolland Nemirovsky and his team of professionals can help you get the relief needed to resume your active lifestyle. Call today to schedule your appointment.