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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Feeling The Pinch - Pinched Nerves

Nerves carry information between your brain and the rest of the body via electro-chemical nerve signals. When a nerve is pinched, it means a nerve signal is interrupted somewhere along the way.

A pinched nerve is also referred to as nerve compression, entrapment or impingement. And a prime example is when your foot “falls asleep.”

Very often, a pinched nerve is caused by excessive pressure on a nerve by surrounding bone, cartilage, muscle, tendon or inflammation. Whenever the pressure is enough to cause nerve signal disruption you’ll likely experience pain plus some of these symptoms:

•muscle atrophy
•muscle weakness
•sharp, shooting pain
Where you feel pain symptoms of a pinched nerve isn’t necessarily the location of interruption. And if your pinched nerve arises out of your spinal cord, then coughing or sneezing may aggravate its pain.

Pinched nerves are most common where a nerve travels through a small space, like with:

•carpal tunnel syndrome ~ wrist
•thoracic outlet syndrome ~ between neck base & armpit
•piriformis syndrome ~ sciatic nerve pinched by piriformis muscle, herniated disc
A number of conditions may cause a nerve or nerves to pinch, for instance:

•bone spurs
•poor posture
•herniated disc
•spinal stenosis
•repetitive stress
•inflammation around nerve caused by injury, bruise, etc.
Pinched nerves can sometimes lead to other conditions, i.e peripheral neuropathy and tennis elbow.

If the extent of your pinched nerve pain is short lived, then typically it’ll cause no permanent damage. However, if the pressure on your nerve is chronic, then permanent nerve damage may occur.

Initial treatment for a pinched nerve is rest, as in refrain from any activity that causes pain aggravation. Often, this is the only treatment necessary so long as you feel pinching relief within a few days.

Otherwise, another form of treatment may be required:

•surgery ~ last resort
•brace ~ for immobilization
•corticosteroids ~ helps alleviate pain
•NSAIDs ~ ibuprofen, naproxen for swelling
•cortisone injections ~ minimizes pain & inflammation
Frequently, a pinched nerve might be avoided if you:

•maintain good posture
•limit repetitive movement
•use proper body mechanics
•include strength & flexibility within fitness regime
And keeping your weight within a fit range is important as well.


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