Pinched spinal nerve symptoms — how does this cause pain in another part of the body?

Many patients visiting their doctors for their arm or leg pain are surprised to discover they’re actually experiencing the symptoms of a pinched nerve in the spine. This is because the spine is responsible for protecting the central nervous system, which sends sensory and motor signals between the brain and the rest of the body. If the spinal cord or a nerve root becomes compressed by a spine condition, like a herniated disc or an arthritic bone spur, it can interfere with these signals. This can result in painful, debilitating symptoms.

The location of the pain, tingling, numbness and muscle weakness will depend on the location in the spine where the pinched nerve occurs, with symptoms in the upper spine occurring in a different location than symptoms in the lower spine.

Pinched nerve in the cervical spine

The nerves that branch off the spinal cord in the cervical (upper) region of the spine transmit sensory and motor signals throughout the upper body. A pinched nerve in this part of the spine can cause symptoms in the following locations:

  • Neck
  • Shoulders
  • Arms
  • Hands

Pinched nerve in the lumbar spine

The nerve roots in the lower back (lumbar spine) branch off into nerves that send sensory and motor signals throughout the lower body. A pinched nerve in the lumbar spine can cause symptoms in these areas:

  • Lower back
  • Hips
  • Buttocks
  • Legs
  • Feet

As with neural compression in the cervical spine, the exact location of your discomfort depends on which nerve root is compressed.

Treating a pinched spinal nerve

Upon diagnosing the cause and location of the pinched nerve most doctors will recommend a course of conservative treatment options. Many patients are able to find pain relief and a return to normal activity through treatments like over-the-counter medication, physical therapy, exercise and alternating heating pads with ice packs to the area.

Laser Spine Institute

If conservative treatment has not brought desired relief after several weeks or months and your physician has recommended surgical treatment for a pinched nerve, reach out to Laser Spine Institute.

Our board-certified surgeons+ perform minimally invasive spine surgery that offers many benefits compared to traditional procedures. By using a less than 1-inch incision to access the spine and decompress the affected nerve, our procedures offer a shorter recovery time^ with less risk of complication.

Contact us for a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan* to determine if you’re a candidate for one of our outpatient procedures.

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