A pinched nerve can cause a significant amount of back or neck pain, which is often debilitating. Sciatica and other conditions caused by compressed nerves can make movement challenging, painful and often impossible. However, it is often difficult for patients to determine if they are suffering from a pinched nerve or if the pain is coming from another problem. Today, our board-certified spine physicians are going to offer some information about pinched nerves to help patients better evaluate their pain and symptoms.

What happens when a nerve is pinched?

A system of nerves reaches into all parts of the body that are connected to the spinal cord. When one of these nerves is compressed by a bone, muscle, cartilage or tendon, it creates pressure that produces a pain reaction. For some, spinal decompression surgery will be required to restore disc height, helping to eliminate pain and discomfort.

What symptoms will I experience?

Specific symptoms can be a clue that a nerve is pinched or being compressed. Radiating pain, numbness, burning, tingling and weakness are common symptoms that can occur anywhere from the neck to the lower back, and down along the nerves’ pathway. Activities originating at the pinched site can also increase pain. For instance, a pinched nerve in the neck may be more painful when the neck turns from side to side.

Where is nerve compression likely to occur?

Nerves often become pinched around bones, ligaments and tendons; in areas that are prone to doing a lot of work. Nerve compression commonly results from vertebrae and discs that have moved out of place along the spine.

What conditions are associated with pinched nerves?

Sciatica is a commonly occurring condition that involves compression of the sciatic nerve, which originates from the lower portion of the spine and travels along the buttocks, down the leg and into the foot. Nerve compression can also be caused by excessive motion in an area as seen in carpal tunnel syndrome, or it can be caused by holding a body part in position for too long.

Long-term nerve compression that is ignored can cause extensive nerve damage, so it is important to schedule an appointment with a doctor who specializes in spinal care if back or neck pain is persistent or debilitating. If you would like to schedule an appointment to better evaluate and understand your spinal pain or condition, reach out to The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration. Our Santa Monica spinal surgeons serve the Beverly Hills and greater Los Angeles area and are part of an advanced diagnostic team who can help you determine the safest, most effective course of action. Call (310) 828-7757 and request an in-person consultation today.