5 Causes of a Pinched Nerve

Your nervous system allows your brain and body to communicate. Included in your nervous system are nerves that branch out from your spinal cord and travel to all areas of your body. If these nerves get compressed, you may experience various symptoms, such as radiating pain, stiffness, weakness, and numbness. In severe cases, pinched nerves can even lead to poor bladder control. 

Pinched nerves often occur in the lower back and neck, but they can also occur in the shoulder, elbow, and wrist. In this blog, Bonaventure Ngu, MD, of Premier Spine Institute, explains the five most common causes of pinched nerves

1. Arthritis 

Arthritis is a condition in which joints deteriorate due to overuse, aging, autoimmune disorders, and other reasons. As joints deteriorate, friction between bones can increase. This friction can cause bone spurs to develop, and these bone spurs can compress nearby nerves. 

2. Herniated disc

Between each vertebra of your spine is a disc that’s tough on the outside and soft on the inside. These discs act as shock absorbers for your vertebrae. If one of these discs ruptures, the result is called a herniated disc, in which the soft inside pushes out through the harder exterior. Depending on where the soft interior pushes out, it can press on nearby nerves. Herniated discs are more likely to occur if you lift heavy objects, are obese, or smoke cigarettes. 

3. Obesity

Extra weight can put too much pressure on your spine. And this extra pressure, in turn, can cause your spine to apply pressure to the nerves that come out of your spine. If weight issues are causing pinched nerves, reducing your weight through diet and exercise should help relieve the pressure. 

4. Overuse and repetitive movements 

Overuse and repetitive movements can put pressure on the nerves in your lower back and neck. If overuse is the cause, identify the repetitive movements that are responsible and modify the tasks or cease engaging in them until the inflammation goes down.

For example, looking down at electronic devices for long periods of time is a common cause for pinched nerves. The solution? Avoid looking down so much and try to use your electronic devices at eye level. 

5. Pregnancy 

During pregnancy, increased weight in the midsection can put pressure on the nerves in the back. Water retention during pregnancy can also raise the risk of developing pinched nerves. Avoiding prolonged periods of sitting down may help reduce compression in the lower back.

Pinched nerves aren’t necessarily serious, but they can become troublesome if left untreated. If your symptoms don’t go away with rest and at-home treatments, we can give you a thorough evaluation and help you get relief. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Premier Spine Institute today.

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