A trapped one nerve or compressed nerve as doctors call it, occurs when pressure is placed on a nerve root by surrounding tissue such as bones, muscles, tendons, or cartilage. This pressure disrupts the functioning of the nerve, causing further discomfort and pain in that area.
“Pinched nerves can occur in people of all ages. Typically, people aged 50 and over are most likely to develop them due to age-related arthritis and degeneration of the spine and other parts of the body. People with diabetes and overweight people are at higher risk for nerve compression, ”said Dr. Anil R., Neurologist, Columbia Asia Hospital Hebbal (a division of Manipal Hospitals).
While pinched nerves are usually not permanent Nerve dysfunction“It can lead to conditions like peripheral neuropathy if left untreated,” he added.
Causes of a Pinched Nerve
A pinched nerve occurs when a nerve is damaged and unable to send regular signals to the brain. This condition can occur for a number of reasons, such as: B. a herniated disc or bone spurs that compress the nerve. Arthritis in the area can also be a cause. “Sometimes certain activities and habits trigger a compressed nerve. Bad posture while sitting, standing, or walking are also major factors. Injuries during sports, pressure from body weight in overweight people can sometimes compress a nerve. In pregnancy, it is the extra weight that can lead to compressed nerves, ”said Dr. Anil across from indianexpress.com.
A pinched nerve can cause different symptoms depending on the part of the body affected. The most common of them are:
* burning sensation
* decreased feeling or numbness in the area
* Pain – sharp pain or referred pain
* Muscle weakness, especially during certain activities
* sharp pains, like tingling
Areas that are affected
Pinched nerves can be anywhere in the body. The spinal and peripheral nerves (limbs) can also be affected. They can affect the neck, upper middle back, or even lower back. It can also be experienced on the hand, shoulder, arm and elbow and wrist.
“In most cases, the pinched nerve will subside on its own. If the pain is not too severe, one can try self-care options like applying heat / ice to the area, massage, etc. Along with these, good rest is essential and effective for a nerve to heal. Also, avoid lifting heavy weights.
However, if symptoms and pain persist even after trying home remedies, don’t hesitate to see a doctor, ”he advised.
Treatment plan for a pinched nerve
Treating a trapped nerve depends on the affected area and the cause. One way to combat this could be to adapt to activities that help put strain on the nerve.
Some initial treatments, the experts say, may include:
* Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen
* Injections of corticosteroids (an anti-inflammatory drug)
* Improving neck / back strength through physical therapy and improving posture can prevent or relieve nerve inflammation
* Using cervical braces / splints can help treat wrists, neck, and hands.
“In some cases, surgery may be needed to relieve pressure on the nerve if it doesn’t respond to medication, splints, physiotherapy, or injections. The type of operation depends on the nerve affected. Very few patients need surgery for pinched nerves; for most of them, non-surgical treatments help relieve the pain, ”he said.
For most patients, with adequate rest and other treatments, symptoms improve within a few days, and recovery occurs within six to 12 weeks of nonsurgical treatment. Nerve function returns to normal as soon as the pressure is released.
How to prevent a pinched nerve
Not all pinched nerve conditions are preventable, but your risk can be reduced if he / she:
* Maintain a healthy weight and posture.
* Do stretching exercises to keep the muscles strong and flexible.
* Sitting in one position or even lying down for hours can cause nerve compression in the leg.
* Use palm rests while using a keyboard, take breaks from repetitive actions such as typing
See a doctor if you have persistent symptoms of pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness radiating to the arm or leg. It is important to get an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible so that an early treatment plan can be established that is important for effective resolution of the condition.