Table of Contents
- What is a pinched nerve?
- What are the risk factors for a pinched nerve?
- What causes a pinched nerve?
- What are the signs and symptoms of a pinched nerve?
- How is a pinched nerve diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for a pinched nerve?
- What is the prognosis for a pinched nerve?
- Can a pinched nerve be prevented?
Quick GuideNerve Pain: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Options
What causes a pinched nerve?
Pressure on a peripheral nerve can irritate the nerve itself, its protective covering (myelin sheath), or both. When this occurs, the nerve is unable to conduct sensory impulses to the brain appropriately, leading to a sense of numbness. This inflammation associated with the damage or injury can also cause pain or paresthesia (a tingling or prickling sensation) signals to be sent to the brain. In its early stages, many people may describe this sensation as a body part that has "fallen asleep." However, if nerve inflammation persists, this sensation persists rather than resolving after a few minutes.
If the nerve is compressed for a short amount of time, it is often able to repair itself but it may take several weeks or months for the symptoms to fully resolve. However, if the compression remains present for a long time, permanent nerve injury may occur.
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