Pinched Nerve

A pinched nerve occurs when pressure is applied to the nerve. Too much pressure will interrupt the nerve’s functioning, causing pain, numbness and weakness in the nerve’s related area of the body.

Nerves surround the spinal column and are protected by the muscles and tendons against damage. When these structures are injured, it results in pressure on the nerves.  As long as there is pressure on a nerve, it will result in a pinched nerve. 

Risk Factors For A Pinched Nerve

There are two risk factors for a pinched nerve; muscle imbalances and a herniated disc. Both of these can place pressure on the disc resulting to an increase possibility of wearing and tearing. As the tissues surrounding the nerves wears off, it will cause pressure resulting to pain.

How can muscle imbalances cause a pinched nerve?  Muscle imbalances can alter the pull of the muscles as well as its position. When this occurs it can put pressure on the nerves that can lead to pain.

Symptoms Of A Pinched Nerve

Pinched nerve symptoms are usually felt in an area which is affected. Symptoms would include a sharp or burning pain that may radiate to other parts of the body. Pain is aggravated when you cough, sneeze or strain while defecating. There will also be a decrease in sensation that is accompanied by numbness and weakness in the affected area. 

Seeing Your Doctor

When you visit your doctor’s clinic, the doctor will first do an assessment by taking your medical history. Then a physical assessment is done by examining the movement of the neck as well as its function. The doctor will ask you to bend your neck or move your head in different directions.

The physician will also conduct certain procedures to make sure that it is a pinched nerve. These tests may include electromyography, magnetic resonance imaging and nerve conduction study.

Electromyography is a test that measures the electrical activity in the muscles. This is done by placing thin needle electrodes into the muscles while you are relaxing and contracting it.

Magnetic resonance imaging or MRI scan uses radio frequencies and magnetic field in producing cross-sectional images of the body. A nerve conduction study is done by placing electrodes on the skin to excite the nerves.

Treatments

If the doctor has determined that the symptoms you are experiencing are from a pinched nerve, surgery may be recommended, depending on the severity of the condition. But before considering surgery as an option, there are non-surgical treatment methods that may be used, such as rest or medications.

Rest of the involved area is one of the most commonly suggested treatments for a pinched nerve. The doctor will ask you to stop doing your activities for a period of time so not to cause further injury or compression. Immobilization of the area is also used as a treatment. A splint or brace is placed to relief the pressure on the pinched nerve.

Pinched Nerve  Prevention

A pinched nerve may be prevented by taking simple preventive measures. Staying in good physical condition is your primary defense. This could be done by avoiding activities that could lead to a pinched nerve problem. Preventive measures are truly helpful in limiting your chances of being affected by this painful condition.