1. General Knowledge
Nerves are considered as electrical cords which carry information from the brain to the rest of the human body. Those cords are the extensions from the brain that distributed into the arms and legs to go to the muscles and skin. Nerve is a microscopic size kind of cell with a fiber that runs several feet in length to its destination. There are two types of nerves cell that live in the brain and different parts of the body; Central and Peripheral nerve. Central nerve is a nerve cell that lives in the brain or within the spinal cord, while the Peripheral nerves are the ones outside the brain and spinal cord and leave the spine to go into the arms and legs.
“Pinched nerve” used to describe a kind of damage or injury to a nerve or set of nerves. It is the term for pain or impaired function of the nerve. It sometimes happens when the nerves control some muscle movements or relay sensations to the brain. Pinched nerve can happen in the neck, lower back and even in wrist or elbow.
2. Causes of Pinched Nerve
A pinched nerve is caused when a nerve is somehow damaged or injured by direct pressure or compression. It also occur when the nerve signal unable to run properly through out the body. There are lots of potential causes of pinched nerve aside from compression, it may also occur due to constriction or even over stretching of the nerve. Sometimes narrowing of the space within your vertebrate can also be a reason to possibly squeeze the nerves in your neck. Our body is surrounded by tissues and those tissues are sometimes applying pressure to the nerve that can cause pinched nerve in the spine. Aside from tissues, the pressure in the nerve may come from bone, cartilage, tendons, muscles and disc material. Because of these, lots of pain and symptoms will occur including tingling, numbness, muscle spasms and shooting pain that traveling from one side to other areas of the body. Some of specific causes of pinched nerve in the spine are Spinal Arthritis, Herniated Disc, Bulging Disc, Degenerative Disc Disease, Bone spurs and Facet disease. A person with history of pinched nerve in the family has more chance in developing the same condition.
3. Common Symptoms of Pinched Nerve
The symptoms of a pinched nerve depend upon what nerve is affected. In other words the pain radiates out of the peripheral nerves to the body’s extremities, the pain always affects other areas of the body or even nearer areas that affected. The most typical symptoms of pinched nerves are:
• Pain Numbness, Tingling (pins and needles) or Weakness of your muscles alongside the path of the nerve. A pinched nerve sensation felt like the sensation when a part of the body has “fallen asleep”. A pinched nerve begins to show symptoms when the nerves begin to damage and areas around the damage nerve are starting to be affected.
• A pinched nerve in neck can cause neck pain or stiffness which travel from the neck through the shoulders down the arms and into the hands.
• A pinched nerve in lower back causes back pain and stiffness together with symptoms down the leg. A physician can usually identify which nerve is pinched in the neck or lower back based on what portion of the patient’s arm or leg is affected. L5 (lumbar 5) and S1 (sacral 1) are the most common pinched nerves in the lower back.
• A pinched nerve in wrist from carpal tunnel syndrome typically affects the thumb, index, and middle fingers. It may additionally cause of weakness of the patient’s grip strength and atrophy of muscle of the palm at the thumb area. A pinched nerve within the elbow from Cubital tunnel syndrome affects the forearm, the ring (fourth finger), and also the small fingers of a hand.
Sometimes these symptoms can be treated by simply resting the affected part or area. It’s really important to avoid high-risk activities that commonly lead to develop a pinched nerve. Learn and always consider different precautionary measures you can take to protect yourself and to help reduce the chances of developing different pinched nerve symptoms in your body.
Pinched nerve in neck
4. What Is Pinched Nerve In Neck?
Pinched Nerve in the neck is caused by pinched nerve in the cervical region of the spine. C1-C7 is the seven labeled vertebrate of the spine from the base of the skull that runs through the neck and upper back. C8 is the root pair residing between the last cervical vertebra (C7) and the first thoracic vertebra which is labeled as T1. The weakening of the spine increasing chances of developing pinched nerve. The pinched nerve at C5 can cause shoulder pain. Pinched nerve at C6 can cause weakness of the biceps and wrist extensors. At C7 can cause pain or numbness that moves down the arm to the middle finger. Pinched nerve at C8 can cause hand dysfunction.
Age and Obesity are the two natural factors of weakening the disc in the spine. Nerve compression is mentioned as a condition of irritation, constriction, or inflammation of nerves within the human body. The compression, inflammation of a nerve affects normal function of the nerve’s ability to connect to other nerve in parts of the body. Most of the patient firstly associated localized pain with nerve compression. However, this condition could actually lead to different symptoms towards patients depending on the severity, causes, and location of the affected area. Pinched nerve is common in most people who do high risk activities. The cervical area of the spine is responsible for both supporting the skull’s weight and supplying the full range of motion that require for human’s neck. This combination between weight burden and flexibility causes minor injuries and regular nerve damage. When people grow older, the cervical spine is susceptible in promoting lot of degenerative spine conditions which are considered as the consequence of normal wear and tear. In fact, a pinched nerve in neck might simply because of the neck’s position in the pillow while sleeping and while doing household chores that leads to over-exerting of nerves. This problem might also caused by ligament calcification, soft tissue irritation, infection and the presence of tumors within the cervical spine.
5. Diagnosing a Pinched Nerve
The right thing to confidently diagnose a pinched nerve in neck is by visiting specialized doctor for a series of examinations. During the test, the doctor will review patients’ medical history and ask them a series of questions about symptoms to better understand their condition. Doctors will study the result first before recommending some treatment for their patient. With treatment available it will automatically lessen the pain and definitely cure the pinched nerve.
6. How is a pinched nerve treated?
The flow up and down inside the nerve will reduce or block after a nerve got “pinched”. It will cause for the nutrients to stop flowing and the nerve membrane will eventually start to lose the ability to transmit electrical impulses. In this case, the nerve fiber will die eventually, which will leads to a numb skin and muscle des-contract. There are many methods to treat neck and back problem. These treatments are designed to reduce and alleviate pain, tingling, muscle weakness and even muscle spasm. Here are lists of some popular Pinched Nerve Treatment offered by doctors.
• Support braces in many cases a pinched nerve can be treated with rest and ice. If the pinched nerve is in the arm (carpal tunnel syndrome or cubital tunnel syndrome) the physician may recommend a brace for a quick period of the time. The brace limits the quantity of movement all around the nerve, which allows it to rest and recuperate. The brace also prevents the individual from movements that could further compress or pinch the affected nerve. A brace utilized for carpal tunnel syndrome covers the wrist and is extended slightly back. This is because during flexion (bending the wrist down) the median nerve in the wrist is further pinched. The brace for cubital tunnel syndrome in the elbow can be used to keep the elbow from bending too much which further stretches the ulnar nerve.
• Medication. Various medications may also be utilized to treat a pinched nerve. Anti-inflammatory medications, as an example, ibuprofen or naproxen may reduce the irritation (swelling) round the affected nerve. Other medications used particularly for nerve related pain include gabapentin (Neurontin) or pregabalin (Lyrical).
• Physical therapy. Actual treatment can assist to stretch and strengthen specific muscles in the body, which helps relieve the pressure on the pinched nerve.
• Simple exercise can help relieve the pain caused by pinched nerve. You can do back exercises, Shoulder exercises and other Pinched nerve exercises. For Back exercises you can do Side Bends, Twist and Hamstring stretch. Shoulder exercise includes Chin Extension, Shoulder Shrugs and Bench Press with Broom. Aerobic Exercise, Pilates, Yoga and Water exercises are also helpful to treat pinched nerve.
• Corticosteroid injections or Epidural Steroid injections can minimize the effects of a pinched nerve in the body. It sometimes provides immediate relief to some patients because it is a powerful kind of synthetic anti-inflammatory medication. It can relief the pain for weeks or even for a month that patient now able to move again normally. It is prescribed by the doctors to treat the most severe and persistent cases of pinched nerve in the back or neck. Corticosteroid injection may apply after other pain killers fail to relieve and prevent the symptoms. This treatment can be done using live X-ray or fluoroscopy to pinpoint the exact location of the affected area in your spinal column. Sometimes doctors restrict the use of this treatment because it may cause weight gain, bone degeneration, hypertension and facial swelling. It also has mild effects including dizziness, headaches, insomnia and nausea and can even increased blood sugar.
• Surgery may be recommended if the symptoms from a pinched nerve do not improve and relieve with the above treatments. Surgery might also be recommended if the patient develops additional weakness in the muscles and if the specific nerves being pinched that cause loss of control to your bowel or bladder (caudal equine syndrome). Surgery may also apply if there are some signs of more severe nerve damage. The surgery must be done to remove any debris in the spinal column cause by the affected nerves. It can provide long lasting relief from the pain. Surgery for a pinched nerve depends on the location of the nerve being pinched. If the pinched nerve is within the wrist (carpal tunnel syndrome) or even elbow (cubital tunnel syndrome), there’s a chance to release the tissues over the nerve in the wrist or elbow to free the nerve tissue pressure. If the pinched nerve is in neck or lower back, a spine surgeon or neurosurgeon could treat it by removing a portion of the disc or bone spurs that compressing the nerve inside the spine. In certain cases, a large serving of bone or disc is needed to remove because of the large effect of pain in the body. In this case, the surgery might need a spinal fusion to stabilize the spine after freeing the nerve. There are different surgical approaches to choose from which will give the patient a freedom to choose the best options for him/her.
These treatments will be applying after a physician run a series of test including nerve conduction study and electromyography. This test is done to assess the severity of the body condition before planning any of these pinched nerve treatment.
After the Pinched nerve treatment, recovery time may depends on what treatment you choose and how much amount of damage was done within the time the nerve became pinched and painful. Different patient will response differently to the applied treatment. But with the help of your physician, performing different physical examination and run series of tests will help you estimate how long time it will take for you to recover from your pinched nerve treatment