Like garden hoses transporting water, your nerves transport important electrical messages throughout the body. Sometimes, though, something gets in the way of the flow.
At each disc level in your spine, there are two nerve roots that branch off from the spinal cord and travel into the rest of your body. When working properly, these nerves send important messages throughout your body from your brain and spinal cord – they’re what help you move and feel without any problems. However, if something begins to put too much pressure on them and/or they become compressed, you get what’s called a “pinched” nerve.
Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve
- sharp, aching, or burning pain radiating down an arm or leg
- muscle weakness or numbness in an arm or leg
- hand or foot “falling asleep”
- muscle spasms in the back
- stiffness in the neck
What’s Getting On Your Nerves
A nerve can be pinched by a ligament or tendon, or pinched in between a bone and a ligament or tendon. Other times, a condition can create rough spots in the bone through which the nerve passes. Conditions commonly associated with pinched nerves include:
- an injury, particularly those involving repetitive motion
- a herniated disc
- bone spurs
With a pinched nerve, the earlier you get a diagnosis and treatment, the faster your recovery. Neglecting it for too long can lead to fluid buildup and scarring. Treatment options include:
rest | posture modification | pain medications | splints
physical therapy | steroid injections | surgical options