Pinched nerves can occur nearly anywhere in the body, from your neck throughout your spine and into your wrists. The location of a pinched nerve determines the symptoms and problems associated with it. The most common symptoms include numbness, tingling, sharp pain, muscle weakness, and a pins-and-needles feeling in the impacted area.
An occasional pinched nerve is usually nothing to be worried about; it can be caused by knots in your muscles which develop from repetitive work or poor posture. But if you have a pinched nerve that’s lasting a long time, coming back often, or making it hard to work, walk, or perform other necessary functions of life, it’s time to see an orthopaedic surgeon. He or she can identify and treat the underlying problem.
Here are the most common causes of pinched nerves.
Your vertebrae are separated from one another by small cushions, or disks, in your spine. These disks protect the structures in your spine, including your vertebrae and nerves.
When the jelly-like substance inside the tough disk pushes out, it’s called a slipped or herniated disc. This interrupts the normal function of the spine and can irritate nearby nerves, causing a pinched nerve and subsequent numbness, tingling, and weakness in an extremity (arm or leg).
Herniated disks often require surgical treatment.
Injury or repetitive work (or leisure) activities can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. In patients suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, the sheaths that the hand nerves pass through become inflamed, compressing major nerves and causing dysfunction.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include numbness and tingling in the hand, pain that shoots up the forearm, and weakness or clumsiness in the hand. Tasks that used to be easy (like typing or button a shirt) may become harder.
When caught early, carpal tunnel can be treated with splints and other non-invasive treatments, but it may worsen over time. Eventually, surgery may be required.
Any variance in ligaments, tendons, or bones can put undue stress and compression on your nerves, causing a pinched nerve and all the discomfort that comes with it.
Bone spurs, which can develop on any bone but are most common at the joint, are one malformation that can contribute to pinched nerves. Bone spurs can be both diagnosed and treated by an orthopaedic surgeon.
To identify the underlying cause of your compressed nerve, request an appointment with Dr. Bonaventure Ngu at Premier Spine Institute today.