Pinched nerve signs and symptoms
- Numbness or decreased sensation in the area supplied by the nerve
- Sharp, aching or burning pain, which may radiate outward
- Tingling, “pins and needles” sensations (paresthesia)
- Muscle weakness in the affected area
- Frequent feeling that a foot or hand has “fallen asleep”
A pinched nerve can be the cause of excruciating pain for the affected person. It is a very common problem which affects people of various age groups. In some cases, it occurs when the person injures a particular area of the body such as the shoulder, back or neck. However, a pinched nerve can also occur if the vertebrae in the spinal cord shift out of place due to any reason.
If the spinal cord starts narrowing, the problem of a pinched nerve can occur. Such a situation normally arises as the person gets older. Certain diseases such as arthritis can also trigger the problem of a pinched nerve.
A pinched nerve can be treated with the help of medication. It is also important to refrain from exerting the affected area in any way till the symptom of pain subsides completely. There are various symptoms which are associated with this condition. If you experience such symptoms, it is important to seek medical help.
Various Symptoms Of Pinched Nerve
Numbness In The Affected Area
The affected area might become very numb. The patient might lose all sensation in the affected area or he might lose some sensation there. This depends on the severity of his condition. This happens because the nerves in the affected area are pinched and so they are unable to function properly. Thus they are not able to transfer signals to and from the affected area. This causes the problem of numbness. The symptom of numbness takes quite a while to disappear completely. It is important to rest the area till normal sensation returns to it.
A pinched nerve can cause a tremendous amount of pain for the patient. Even the slightest movement triggers immense pain and it becomes very difficult to bear it. People who suffer from such a problem have to make use of very strong painkillers in order to numb the pain.
The pain which is associated with this condition causes a severe burning sensation right down the affected area. The entire area feels warm or hot when touched. It also appears red in colour due to the presence of an inflammation in the affected nerve.
Weakness In The Affected Area
This makes it difficult to do any work which involves the use of the affected part of the body. If the shoulder is affected, the person cannot lift heavy objects. Such people cannot even lift up the affected arm as high as they would normally be able to do. They also experience spasms in the affected area of the body. Such weakness can prevent people from doing many everyday activities such as carrying objects or gripping things. It is important to have such symptoms treated before they worsen.
If the pinched nerve is in the lower back area, the patient might experience other symptoms which include partial or complete loss of bladder control. Such people might not be able to have normal bowel movements as well. This happens due to the loss of nerve sensation in this area. As a result of this, constipation ordiarrhoea can occur.
Your physician or a professional medical expert may conduct the following procedures on you when testing for a pinched nerve:
- Nerve conduction study. Patch-style electrodes are placed on your skin to stimulate the nerve with a mild electrical impulse.
- Electromyography. This test measures the electrical discharges produced in muscles. During the test, a thin needle electrode is placed into the muscle to record electrical activity while you rest and contract the muscle.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI, a technique that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create cross-sectional images of your body, may be used if your doctor suspects you have nerve root compression in your spine.
- Physical therapy.
- The most frequently recommended treatment for pinched nerve is rest for the affected area. Your doctor will ask you to stop any activities that cause or aggravate the compression.