To understand a pinched nerve it helps to think about how your nervous system works. Your brain and spinal cord make up your central nervous system. You have numerous other nerves running throughout your body, and these nerves make up your peripheral nervous system.
Peripheral nerves gather sensory data and also control movement and motor coordination. While dynamic, your peripheral nerves are also fragile and can be easily damaged.
A pinched nerve happens when undue pressure is placed on a peripheral nerve. That pressure alters the way the nerve functions and can lead to numerous sensory issues.
Every individual has a unique experience of a pinched nerve, and your symptoms will even vary from one episode to another. Some things to look for include:
- Pain that is sharp, aching, or burning
- Tingling or a sensation of “pins and needles”
- Muscle weakness in the surrounding area
- Feeling as though your hand or foot has fallen asleep
- Numbness or loss of sensation
These symptoms can be steady or intermittent. Some men and women report worsening symptoms during sleep.
Anything that places too much pressure on your nerve tissue can lead to a pinched nerve. Some of the more common causes include:
- Traumatic injury
- Repetitive stress
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Overuse during hobbies or athletic pursuits
You can reduce your risk of a pinched nerve by reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in stretching and strength training, and limiting repetitive activities at home or at work.
In some cases, a pinched nerve will heal on its own after a period of rest. If your symptoms are severe or persist, you should schedule a diagnostic exam at Spinal Diagnostics.
Your customized treatment plan is shaped around the cause of your discomfort and your overall health. In some cases, wearing a splint or brace can relieve pressure and give your body a chance to heal.
Targeted exercise and stretches can also reduce pressure and have the added benefit of strengthening your body to prevent future nerve damage. Medications can also play a role in your treatment, but it’s important to work with a medical professional to avoid side effects.
If you’re concerned about nerve pain and want to find answers, book a consultation at your earliest convenience. You can schedule online or over the phone, which makes it easy to find a time that fits your busy life.