A pinched nerve is a cause of pain that may occur in different areas in our bodies. For example, a pinched nerve that is located at the root of a nerve exiting the spine may cause low back pain.
A pinched nerve can affect us in different ways, mainly since continuous pain affects our lives significantly. Pain should be treated as soon as possible to gain pain relief and quality of living.
What is a pinched nerve?
A pinched nerve describes a type of damage or injury to one nerve or more, usually as a result of pressure that is applied to the nerve. Since the nerves are used to send messages throughout the body, when pressured they send a message of pain.
When the pinched nerve is compressed at or near the root of the nerve, shortly after its exit from the spinal cord, it is called radiculopathy. Polyradiculopathy is a condition in which more than one spinal nerve root is affected.
What are the causes of pinched nerve?
Pinched nerve may be the result of nerve compression, meaning pressure on a nerve. The nerves are mostly compressed between ligaments, tendons, or bones. Pinched nerves may also be caused by constriction or stretching of the nerve.
Nerve compression can be caused by daily activities due to long periods of pressure on a nerve, such as holding your body in one position for long periods (such as while sleeping or sitting in a wheel chair) or performing repetitive motions or continuous motions.
One common example for a compressed nerve is having a body part, usually a leg or a hand, “fall asleep”.
Carpal tunnel syndrome, a type of peripheral neuropathy, occurs when the nerve that travels through the wrist is compressed. The pinched nerve in the wrist leads to pain and numbness in the hand and fingers, which are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. This usually happens as a result of overuse. For this reason, people whose work requires repetitive motions of the wrist, such as people who type on computer keyboards for a few hours every day, are at greater risk to suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome.
When inflammation or pressure occurs on a nerve root exiting the spine, it may cause neck pain or back pain, depending on the affected nerve. But pain can also radiate, for example from the sciatic nerve into the lower back, hip, buttocks, leg and foot, called sciatica.
Another possible cause for pinched nerve is torn disc, called herniated disc, that puts pressure on the root of a spinal nerve, or bone spur that do the same and so cause pinched nerve.
Age-related degenerative changes in the spine account for a high percentage of pinched nerve cases.
Mature man with lower back pain standing in the gym at hospital
What are the symptoms of pinched nerves?
Pain is a symptom of nerve compression in the affected area, such as the low back. It may also be radiating pain, outward from the injured area, such as sciatica. Radiating pain experienced due to nerve compression in the neck or arm can cause symptoms in other areas, such as the elbow, wrist and fingers that can also lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.
However, nerve compression can also occur without pain.
Common symptoms include:
• Pain at and near the affected nerve
• Radiating pain
• Burning sensation
Mature Man treating shoulder pain
Can a pinched nerve be a warning signal for a severe problem?
A pinched nerve signals a problem which may be minor, but may also be severe. The problem can be temporary or not. Therefore, it’s recommended to get diagnosis and treat the problem. Hopefully, the problem can be treated to full recovery.
If the compression lasts a long time, there may be long lasting damage such as scarring that may affect the nerve’s function.
In addition, pinched nerves can sometimes lead to other conditions. For example, peripheral neuropathy, conditions that happen when one or more nerves suffer damage or disease that affect the nerves that carry messages to and from the brain and spinal cord from and to other parts of the body.
How to treat a pinched nerve?
Pinched nerve treatment depends on the cause of the nerve compression, as well as the severity of symptoms.
Pinched nerve treatment usually begins with conservative treatments. As pain itself greatly affects our lives, it’s crucial to gain pain relief through treatment.
Usually, rest and pain management enable recovery from a pinched nerve within days or weeks, the exact time changing from person to person.
If the pain is severe or if symptoms persist, you must see a doctor. There may be need to treat swollen tissue around the nerve or remove the material that compresses the nerve, such as disc material, bone or scar tissue.
Steroid injections to reduce swelling are sometimes recommended, as they allow the inflamed nerves to heal. In some severe cases a surgery may be considered for pinched nerve treatment, especially if the pain has not gotten better after six to eight weeks of therapy, if symptoms worsen, or if there is evidence of spinal cord compression.
Pinched nerve in back treatment at home.
Here are some at-home treatments for pinched nerve that in many cases will alleviate the pain and enable healing:
(1) Rest. Simply avoiding activities that worsen the pain or even activities that cause significant discomfort may be enough for pinched nerve pain relief.
It is also suggested to try to sleep in a position that relieves the pain, and with proper neck support and a cervical pillow if needed.
(2) Home pain relief devices. For pinched nerve in back treatment at home, pain relief devices can prove highly effective. Solio Alfa Plus creates optimal conditions for healing, mainly through pain relief, heat and muscle relaxation. As the goal is reducing pain, it will enable your return to normal activity quickly, thanks to this advanced home therapy device.
(3) Pain relief medications. To reduce pain and swelling caused by pinched nerve, some medications, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen, may prove to be helpful. Sometimes, oral corticosteroids are recommended to reduce swelling and pain, as well as stronger drugs.
(4) Splint. Wearing a splint on the painful area may be helpful to help muscles relax and alleviate pain. It also helps to prevent further damage.
(5) Exercises. Exercises can be performed at home, but it’s advisable to see a physical therapist to learn more about what’s right for your pain. Exercises help strengthen muscles and stretching them, which may help alleviate pain. They can also help with range of motion and functionality.
(6) Create changes. Depending on the cause of the pinched nerve, applying various changes to your life may prove to be helpful. For example, a pinched nerve may be caused by incorrect posture that can be improved.
Symptoms of pinched nerve may sometimes be alleviated by keeping in better shape, losing weight, or stretching to reduce pressure.
Always consult a doctor while also performing at-home treatments for pinched nerve in back, neck or other areas of the body. With Solio pain relief device, first RF FDA-cleared pain relief device for home use, you apply deep heating that can alleviate pain and create an optimal healing environment at the comfort of your home.