A pinched nerve is also called a compressed nerve and it happens when too much pressure is applied to a nerve by surrounding tissues like cartilage, muscles, bones, or tendons. This pressure disturbs the nerve’s function, leading to pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness. This sort of nerve can happen at numerous sites of the body but when it is in the neck one should know when to see a doctor for a pinched nerve in the neck as the neck is very much sensitive.
What Is A Pinched Nerve?
Nerves extend from the brain and spinal cord and send vital messages all through the body. A pinched nerve occurs due to the pressure from nearby tissues. Having a pinched nerve sends warning signals like pain which shouldn’t be neglected.
Damages from a pinched nerve can be severe or minor. It may lead to long-lasting or temporary problems. The earlier one gets diagnosed and takes treatment for a pinched nerve, the more one can get relief.
In a few cases, reversing the damage due to a pinched nerve cannot be possible however, treatment generally gives relief from pain and other symptoms. At times, surgery may be needed to treat the condition especially if you have a pinched nerve in the neck and shoulder.
Symptoms Of Pinched Nerve
- Numbness or lessened sensation in the region supplied by the nerve
- Piercing, aching or burning pain, which might radiate outwards
- Tingling, needles and pins sensations (paresthesia)
- Weakness of muscles in the affected region
- Recurrent feeling that a hand or foot has “fallen asleep”
The problems connected to a pinched nerve can be worse when you are sleeping or trying to move the affected body parts.
Causes Of Pinched Nerve
This condition as said above is the result of being affected due to too much pressure from the surrounding tissues.
In a few instances, this tissue could be cartilage or bone, like in the case of a herniated spinal disk that compresses a nerve root. In other cases, tendons or muscles may lead to this condition.
In the situation of carpal tunnel syndrome, a diversity of tissues could be responsible for compression of the carpal tunnel’s median nerve, inclusive of swollen tendon sheaths within the tunnel, the inflated bone that constricts the tunnel, or a degenerated and thickened ligament.
Several other conditions can cause the tissue to compress nerves or a nerve, including;
- Wrist or rheumatoid arthritis
- Stress from monotonous work
- Hobbies or sporting activities
When a nerve is pinched for just a shorter time, there is usually no enduring damage. Once the pressure is released, nerve functions return to normal. But, if the pressure lasts, chronic pain and lasting nerve damage may take place.
How Long Does A Pinched Nerve Last?
It all depends on many factors such as where the pinched nerve is, age, other health conditions and the food and physical activities one does. Usually, with proper rest and other traditional treatment procedures, the majority of people can recover from the condition within a few days or weeks. Surgery sometimes is required to get relief from a pinched nerve.
When To See A Doctor For Pinched nerve In The Neck?
One should see a doctor if the symptoms and signs of a pinched nerve linger for many days and do not react to self-care measures, like rest and over-the-counter painkillers.
Tips To Prevent Pinched Nerve
Following the below measures can help one prevent a pinched nerve;
- Keep up good positioning — Do not cross the legs or lie in one single position for a longer duration.
- Do strength and flexibility exercises, make them part of your regular exercising program.
- Limit monotonous acts and get regular breaks when you are doing these activities.
- Ensure you have healthy weight.
The below factors can enhance the risks of getting a pinched nerve;
- Gender (Women)
- Bone spurs
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Thyroid disease
Other risk factors include:
- Overuse of organs (used for repetitive purposes)
- Obesity and abnormal weight
- Prolonged bed rest
One should ensure a pinched nerve is treated on time as any neglect can be fatal especially with a pinched nerve in neck. A pinched nerve here can easily lead to Peripheral neuropathy and Carpal tunnel syndrome.
Ensure you know when to see a doctor for a pinched nerve in the neck.
Sudheendra is a passionate blogger for 8 years and holds a Degree in Journalism & Mass Communications. His writings particularly focus on health, medicine, diet & lifestyle. For him, everything that interlinks and relates to health & medical world entices him. His write-ups aim at educating people not by just giving facts but by infusing human touch.