The term pinched nerve refers to a particular type of damage in which a peripheral nerve or set of nerves is compressed as a result of injury or disease. It’s important to note that the term “pinched nerve” may be used as a catch-all phrase for injuries resulting from compression, constriction, or stretching, and may not always strictly refer to a nerve which is being compressed.
Damage to the nerve may be caused by either inflammation or compression of the nerve and may occur either due to direct damage to the nerve itself or to the protective covering which surrounds the nerve.
- Nerve compression
- Trapped nerves
- Nerve entrapment
- Nerve impingement
- Twisted nerve
- Pressure neuropathy
- Radiculopathy (Radiculopathy refers to the changes in sensation or muscle function related to nerve compression in the cervical or lumbar spine)
- Sciatica (Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve is trapped or inflamed)
The symptoms of a pinched nerve often differ from strictly muscular injuries. Common symptoms may include:
- A burning sensation
- “Pins and needles” sensations
- Pain which radiates outward from the injured area
- Pain which may be felt in a seemingly unrelated location, such as pain in your elbow or arm due to a pinched nerve in your neck
- The feeling of your hand or foot “falling asleep”
- Bowel or bladder dysfunction (related to pinched nerves in the lower spine)
The pain associated with a pinched nerve can be mild or extremely intense.