Pinched Nerve

john miller physiotherapist

Article by John Miller

What is a Pinched Nerve?

Nerve damage and the nerve pain and symptoms associated can occur when your nerve is pinched or entrapped. Your pinched nerve usually occurs as a result of injury to structures adjacent to the nerve. The best known pinched nerve would be the sciatic nerve.

Pinched Nerve in Lower Back

Pinched nerve

When your sciatic nerve in the back is pinched by a disc protrusion, arthritic spur or swelling from a ligament injury you are likely to experience referred leg pain. This is commonly known as sciatica.

Any compromise of the nerve space in your spinal column can lead to compression of the nerve endings. Pinching your nerve, regardless of the specific cause will result in a combination of nerve pain, sensory loss, muscle weakness or altered reflexes. 

All of your normal nerve function can be affected by a pinched nerve.

Pinched Nerve in Neck

pinched nerve in neck

Nerves can be pinched anywhere in your body. The second most common nerves that can be pinched are your neck nerves. Pinching your neck nerve can result in arm pain, weakness and altered reflexes.

A pinched neck nerve's symptoms can appear similar to common arm conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow and rotator cuff injury. If you have one of these conditions and it is not responding to treatment, maybe it has been misdiagnosed. Please seek quality professional advice for a thorough assessment.

A pinched nerve in the neck is known medically as a cervical radiculopathy. As you can see, it doesn't have a cool name like "sciatica" so it is less well known. If you are in marketing, maybe you could help out poor old cervical radiculopathy.

Peripheral Pinched Nerves

You can pinch a nerve anywhere in your body. The most likely region for a nerve pinch is where space is limited around the nerve eg tunnels the nerve passes through.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is an example of a pinched peripheral nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel in the front of your wrist.

pinched nerve in lower back

How is a Pinched Nerve Diagnosed?

Pain is sent from your pinched nerve through the spinal cord nerves to your brain, where pain is interpreted. 

Your physiotherapist or doctor can detect where your nerve is pinched by the symptoms that you describe. They may refer you for further diagnostic testing such as a X-ray, CT scan, MRI or nerve conduction testing to confirm the diagnosis or to view the severity of the nerve pinch.

What are the 5 Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve?

A significantly pinched nerve will effect you nerve function and can result in:

  • nerve pain
  • altered sensation: paraesthesia (pins & needles) or anaesthesia (numbness)
  • muscle weakness
  • diminished reflexes
  • loss of bladder or bowel function.

These symptoms may require urgent medical attention. The less time your nerve stays pinched the better your outcome. Please contact your doctor or physiotherapist ASAP!

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Common Treatments for a Pinched Nerve

  • Bed Rest
  • Early Injury Treatment
  • Avoid the HARM Factors
  • Acupuncture and Dry Needling
  • Sub-Acute Soft Tissue Injury Treatment
  • Biomechanical Analysis
  • Proprioception & Balance Exercises
  • Medications?
  • Posture Correction
  • Soft Tissue Massage
  • Brace or Support
  • Deep Neck Stabilisation Exercises
  • Electrotherapy & Local Modalities
  • Heat Packs
  • Joint Mobilisation Techniques
  • Kinesiology Tape
  • Neurodynamics
  • Physiotherapy Instrument Mobilisation (PIM)
  • Prehabilitation
  • Strength Exercises
  • Stretching Exercises
  • Supportive Taping & Strapping
  • TENS Machine
  • Video Analysis
  • Yoga
  • Helpful Products for Pinched Nerves

    Acute Nerve Root Compression

    Related Injuries

  • Ankylosing Spondylitis
  • Back Muscle Pain
  • Bulging Disc
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Cervical Radiculopathy
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • DOMS - Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
  • Facet Joint Pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Migraine
  • Muscle Strain
  • Neck Arm Pain
  • Neck Headache
  • Neck Sprain
  • Pinched Nerve
  • RSI - Repetitive Strain Injury
  • Sacroiliac Joint Pain
  • Scoliosis
  • Shoulder Tendonitis
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Spondylolysis (Back Stress Fracture)
  • Spondylosis (Spine Arthritis)
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Text Neck
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
  • Whiplash
  • Wry Neck
  • FAQs about Pinched Nerves

  • Common Physiotherapy Treatment Techniques
  • What is Pain?
  • Physiotherapy & Exercise
  • When Should Diagnostic Tests Be Performed?
  • Massage Styles and their Benefits
  • How Does Kinesiology Tape Reduce Swelling?
  • Cluster Headaches? Free Online Test
  • Headache or Migraine... What to do?
  • Heat Packs. Why does heat feel so good?
  • How Can You Achieve Good Standing Posture?
  • How Much Treatment Will You Need?
  • How to Minimise or Prevent Whiplash
  • Migraine? Free Online Test
  • Tension-Type Headache? Free Online Test
  • What are the Benefits of Good Posture?
  • What are the Common Massage Therapy Techniques?
  • What are the Early Warning Signs of an Injury?
  • What are the Healthiest Sleeping Postures?
  • What are the Signs of an Unsupportive Pillow?
  • What is a TENS Machine?
  • What is Chronic Pain?
  • What is Good Standing Posture?
  • What is Nerve Pain?
  • What is Sports Physiotherapy?
  • What is the Correct Way to Sit?
  • What's the Benefit of Stretching Exercises?
  • When Can You Return to Sport?
  • Why Kinesiology Tape Helps Reduce Swelling and Bruising Quicker
  • Call PhysioWorks

    Book Online


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    Last updated 14-Jul-2017 02:21 PM

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