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A pinched nerve occurs when too much pressure is applied to a nerve by surrounding tissues. These tissues can include bones, cartilage, muscles or tendons, and the pressure they place on the nerve can damage its function and lead to pain, tingling, numbness or general weakness in the area.
In most cases, rest and other conservative treatments can help you recover from a pinched nerve in a few days or weeks. In serious cases, more invasive treatment will be required. Here’s a look at how to determine whether your pain is from a pinched nerve and how to manage it.
Signs and symptoms of a pinched nerve include:
In some cases, these symptoms worsen during sleep. If symptoms last for several days and do not respond to self-care measures like rest and over-the-counter pain medication, see your doctor for more advanced treatment methods.
A pinched nerve takes place when too much pressure is applied to a nerve by bone, cartilage, muscles or tendons. There are several factors that may cause one or more of these tissues to compress a nerve or nerves:
A nerve pinched for a short time won’t generally cause any permanent damage, and nerve function can typically return to normal once pressure is relieved. If pressure sustains, however, it can lead to chronic pain and permanent nerve damage.
There are several factors that can increase your risk of a pinched nerve:
After a basic physical examination and possibly a few additional tests to confirm that pain is from a pinched nerve, treatment options for pinched nerves may vary. The most common is rest and avoidance of all activities that may be causing the compression. In some cases, splints or braces might be recommended to immobilize the area. Other treatment options include:
There are a few steps you can take to help prevent pinched nerves:
If you’re concerned about pain symptoms that may be a pinched nerve, speak to your doctor about diagnosis and possible treatment options.
“Pinched nerve.” The Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pinched-nerve/home/ovc-20314332
“Pinched (Compressed) Nerve.” WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/compressed-nerves#2
The Live Better Team
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.