What is it?

A pinched nerve, also known as nerve compression or nerve impingement, occurs when excessive pressure is applied to a nerve by surrounding tissues such as bones, muscles, tendons, or cartilage. This pressure can disrupt the normal functioning of the nerve, leading to a variety of symptoms.

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Signs & symptoms

- Sharp or radiating pain: Typically, a pinched nerve causes pain in the affected area. The pain can be sharp, shooting, or radiating along the path of the nerve.
- Numbness or tingling: You may experience a sensation of numbness, tingling, or "pins and needles" in the area supplied by the affected nerve.
- Weakness: Muscles controlled by the pinched nerve may weaken, leading to difficulty in performing certain movements or tasks.
- Loss of sensation: In some cases, you may experience a partial or complete loss of sensation in the affected area.

Diagnosis

- Medical history and physical examination: A doctor will typically evaluate your medical history and perform a physical examination to assess your symptoms and identify the affected area.
- Imaging tests: X-rays, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), or CT (computed tomography) scans may be ordered to visualize the structures surrounding the nerve and identify any potential causes of compression.
- Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies: These tests help evaluate the electrical activity and function of the nerves, helping to determine the severity and location of the nerve compression.

Treatment

- Conservative measures: Initial treatment often involves rest, activity modification, and avoiding activities that worsen symptoms. Physical therapy, including exercises and stretches, can help improve strength and flexibility and relieve pressure on the affected nerve.
- Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation. In some cases, oral corticosteroids or steroid injections around the nerve may be recommended to alleviate symptoms.
- Surgical intervention: If conservative treatments fail to provide relief, surgery may be considered to relieve the compression on the nerve. This could involve removing the source of compression, such as a herniated disc or bone spur.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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