Symptoms Caused By Pinched Nerves

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.

Pinched Nerves

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.

Symptoms From a Nerve Compression

A pinched nerve can produce symptoms including:

  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Pins and needles
  • Weakness

Common Areas of Nerve Entrapment

There are common areas in the body that are suceptible to nerve entrapment.

  • The spine – This commonly occurs when a disc herniation is involved and typically occurs in the neck or low back.
  • The shoulder – Thoracic Outlet Syndrome occurs when nerves or vessels are pinched in the shoulder area.
  • The wrist – Carpal Tunnel Syndrome occurs when the nerves of the wrist are compressed.
  • The gluteal area – Piriformis Syndrome occurs when the sciatic nerve is compressed from excessive muscular tightness.
  • The ankle – Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome happens when the nerves in the ankle/foot are compressed.

Treatment For Pinched Nerves

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.






About Paul Fiscus

Paul Fiscus is the director of Maplewood of Sauk Prairie.