The symptoms of a pinched nerve vary depending on the origin and location of the irritated nerve in the spinal column. For example, a compressed nerve in the lumbar spine might cause sciatica or lower back pain, while a pinched nerve in the cervical spine might cause shoulder weakness or neck pain. The variable is the specific nerve that has become irritated – either as a result of injury or the presence of a degenerative spine condition.
Some of the most common symptoms that can be experienced as a result of a pinched nerve in the cervical (neck), thoracic (middle back) or lumbar (lower back) spine include:
- Localized pain at the site of nerve compression
- Pain that radiates along the affected nerve
- Unexpected muscle weakness
- Muscle fatigue
- Numbness or tingling
A common example of nerve compression
One of the difficulties of diagnosing the symptoms of a pinched nerve is that often, the symptoms are exhibited far away from the impinged nerve at a seemingly unrelated part of the body. Consider the so-called funny bone: At some point, every one of us has hit our elbow and felt pain radiate through our arm. This unpleasant feeling is a result of hitting an unprotected segment of the ulnar nerve – a nerve that originates in the spinal column between the cervical and thoracic sections and culminates in the hand. When a nerve becomes compressed, regular function is interrupted, and the body responds with symptoms, which might be experienced in the part of the body innervated by the nerve.
Spinal nerve decompression
To learn more about the symptoms of a pinched nerve, and to hear about your numerous treatment options, visit your physician. If you are considering surgical nerve decompression, contact Laser Spine Institute to hear how one of our minimally invasive procedures might be able to help you find relief from neck and back pain.