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Pinched nerve (radiculopathy or nerve root irritation)

What is a pinched nerve?   Nerve root compression

A pinched nerve describes one way a nerve can be damaged or injured, when it receives compression, constriction, or stretching.  This nerve compression or pinching can occur within or near the spine at the beginning of the nerve; this special situation when a nerve is compressed near the point where it begins is called radiculopathy.  Another way a pinched nerve can occur is farther away from the spine, when the nerve passes near a bone as when a pinched nerve in shoulder or wrist (carpal tunnel syndrome) occurs; this is called an entrapment syndrome.  This pinched nerve discussion will be directed toward the spine where pinched nerves typically occur in the neck or lower back.

Pinched nerve symptoms

Pinched nerves occur when excessive or constant pressure is applied by surrounding tissues (bone, cartilage, muscles or tendons), disrupting the ability of the nerve to carry a normal signal.  As a result of nerve root compression or other irritation the distorted signal results in the initial symptoms of a pinched nerve – pain, burning, tingling (paresthesia), numbness or weakness in the body part being supplied. Sometimes the pains and these abnormal sensations are far away from the point of pressure.  As an example, a pinched nerve in the neck may cause pain in the little finger as the only symptom, or a pinched nerve in the low back might result only in ankle pain.  Over time, if the nerve compression is allowed to apply constant pressure, not only can pain and weakness increase, but  loss of reflexes, reduced fine movement skills can be reduced or lost, as well as loss of muscle mass or withering (atrophy) can occur in the affected limb.

These abnormal nerve messages can be felt singly (as just nerve pain, or just weakness) or combined (as combined pain, numbness and weakness). A common symptom of a pinched nerve is the odd feeling that the hand or foot has “fallen asleep,” similar to what happens when the blood supply is reduced.  Early diagnosis and prompt treatment is important to prevent further damage or complications.

Causes of pinched nerve

A pinched nerve can occur when excess or prolonged compression is applied to a nerve anywhere along its length by surrounding tissue or structures, such as a tendon, ligaments or cartilage.  A pinched nerve in the neck or lower back can be caused by a herniated disc, arthritis, bone spurs, or spinal stenosis. In the case of a herniated spinal disc, with bulged or torn disc material of the neck or lower back, the cartilage and bone of the immediate nerve opening compress a nerve as runs past the disrupted disc as it leaves the spine.  Spinal stenosis is a condition of abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal through which nerves and the spine pass.  Any of these pinch nerve conditions result in pain, numbness, pins and needles sensation or weakness along part of, or the entire pathway of, the nerve.

This compressive force creates injury to the nerve sheath and this results in inflammation of the nerve that interferes with its ability to carry a normal nerve message. If a pinched nerve lasts a short time no permanent damage results usually, and normal nerve function continues. But if the cause of a pinched nerve is allowed to continue for lack of treatment, the damage continues to progress and chronic pain, numbness or weakness will increase as the nerve damage becomes permanent.

Many opportunities exist in life for a pinched nerve to develop.  Acute and chronic injuries to the spine can compress a nerve or nerves, along with poor posture, degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis where nerve are nearby, repetitive occupational, sports or hobby injuries, and the consequences of obesity on the skeletal and soft tissue structures of the body.

Pinched nerve treatment

A spinal nerve can become pressed upon, or compressed, resulting in what some people would call a pinched nerve, whether in the low back or the neck.   There are simple and effective things a person with a pinched nerve can do that can be very helpful in many cases.   Review some of these ideas for pinched nerve treatment to learn how to help yourself and reduce  or eliminate the need for more aggressive medical treatment.

Pinched nerve in neck

A herniated or bulged disc in the neck (commonly from C4-T1) may result in cervical radiculopathy.  This means that the disc applies pressure on starting point of the complex of nerves (brachial plexus) as they branch off from the spine, going down to supply the arm with motor and sensory impulses.   When this happens pain will be felt not only in the neck and shoulder muscles, but also in that part of the arm and hand supplied by those nerves.

There are many things a person can do to get relief from arthritis pinched nerve and neck pain. Many times the pinched nerve in the neck is directly or indirectly caused or aggravated by arthritis.  Neck pain does not have to reduce your enjoyment of life with daily pain if you know how to use Alternative Medicine methods.

Pinched nerve in neck

Pinched nerve in back

A herniated or bulged disc in the lower back (commonly from L3-S1) may result in lumbar radiculopathy and sciatic neuritis (sciatica).  This means that the disc applies pressure on starting point of the complex of nerves (sciatic nerve roots) as they branch off from the spine, going down to supply the pelvis and leg with motor and sensory impulses. When this happens pain will be felt not only in the low back and hip region, but also in that part of the buttock and leg supplied by those nerves, down to the great toe.

There are many natural and safe means to provide low back pinched nerve relief.