What is a pinched nerve?
A pinched nerve is the term for pain or impaired function of a nerve that is under pressure. It happens to nerves that control muscle movements or relay sensations to the brain.
Beginning signs of a pinched nerve
The initial symptoms of a pinched nerve may be tingling, numbness, burning sensation or shooting pains down the buttocks and legs or in the neck, shoulders, arms and fingers.
Sometimes the pains and sensations are distant from the point of pressure. For instance, a pinched nerve in the low back may cause pain in the calf as the only symptom. When there is nerve damage from constant pressure, pain and weakness may increase. There may be a loss of reflexes, movement skills, sensation in the affected area, and withering (atrophy) of the affected muscles.
What are the nerves?
Nerves are extensions from the brain that reach out into the arms or legs to go to the muscles or skin. A nerve is a cell that is microscopic in size, and its fibers may run several feet in length toward its destination. A nerve cell that lives in the brain or within the spinal cord is called a central nerve, and nerves that leave the spine to go into the arms or legs are called peripheral nerves. These peripheral nerves are actually bundles of millions of nerve fibers that leave the spinal cord and branch out to their target muscles to make them move. These nerve fibers also go to the skin to provide feeling.
After a nerve gets pinched
If a nerve gets “pinched” the flow up and down the inside of the hose is reduced or blocked and the nutrients stop flowing. Eventually the membrane starts to lose its healthy ability to transmit the tiny electrical charges and the nerve fiber may eventually die. When enough fibers stop working, the skin may feel numb or a muscle may not contract.
Your next steps…
If you think you are showing signs of a pinched nerve, we suggest you review our pinched nerve symptoms page for more detailed information.
It is important to note that you can decrease your risk factors for developing a pinched nerve through simple precautionary measures. You can either choose to avoid activities that commonly lead to a pinched nerve or you can learn what steps to take to limit your chances of being injured. To better educate yourself, we suggest you take a look at our pinched nerve causes section.
If you’re tired of being confined to a life of pain, and you have already been diagnosed with a pinched nerve in the back, you should view our page devoted to the treatment of a pinched nerve and see how our safe and effective minimally invasive procedure can help reclaim your life.
Although we try to lay out information for you in the most convenient manner, if you have not been able to find what you are looking for, you should visit our FAQ page. On this page, the experts at Laser Spine Institute have compiled a list of the most common questions they encounter. If you still require more information, or are curious as to how we can help you, please feel free to contact us.