Your ability to move your body, feel the heat from a fireplace or the cold from an icecube, experience pain or even feel vibration all requires the nerves in your body to work properly. The nerves, which are part of the peripheral nervous system (PNS) originate from your spinal cord and extend to all areas of your body. They travel down your arms into the tips of your fingers and travel down your legs into your toes.
The nervous system is made up of two distinct components. The Central Nervous System (CNS), which includes the brain and spinal cord. The Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) is made up from the nerves that extend from the CNS. These nerves are delicate structures that can become injured if they are stretched too far, traumatized or pinched.
A pinched nerve (also called nerve entrapment) is caused when a nerve is compressed by another structure. For example, you may have heard of a person with a “pinched” nerve in their back. This commonly occurs when a disc in the back herniates and the material form the disc presses on (pinches) the nerve. This compression of the nerve can cause a variety of symptoms.
A pinched nerve can produce symptoms including:
There are common areas in the body that are suceptible to nerve entrapment.
Fortunately, treatment for pinched nerves is often successful with conservative care, such as from a Physical Therapist. Treatments may include ice, stretching, strengthening, and special therapies to resolve the entrapped nerve.
For those that do not resolve with therapy, surgery is a possibility.