Did you know that nerves are a type of cell? Nerve cells act as messengers to send messages to the brain and to help us interact with the world, according to a study published by the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care. Some nerves affect your voluntary and involuntary actions; other nerves help us feel the world around us. For instance, if you grab a hot pan off the stove, your nerves send messages of “Hot!” to the brain, which is why you are quickly able to let go of the pan before you burn your skin.
However, sometimes nerves get compressed and can affect which messages are sent and which aren’t. That’s why our neurosurgeons at Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center are dedicated to providing thorough care for your pinched nerve.
Continue reading to learn about the top signs of a pinched nerve.
What is a pinched nerve?
A pinched nerve — also called a compressed nerve — is a nerve that is squeezed by another body part. A muscle or even a bone can press on a nerve and cause problems. Common conditions that increase your risk of a pinched nerve include:
- Stress from repetitive motions or actions
Because pinched nerves can affect your quality of life, it’s important to spot the signs so you can get the care you need as soon as possible.
You have that pins and needles feeling
You probably have already experienced pins and needles if you sat or slept in a position that blocked blood flow to your nerves. For instance, if you fell asleep laying on your hand, you may wake up with pins and needles in your hand. This is normal, and the feelings subside shortly.
Paresthesia — the technical name for pins and needles — is a common symptom when pressure is put on a nerve. If your nerve is compressed either due to an injury or musculoskeletal condition, you may experience these feelings even if you’re not sitting or lying in an odd position.
You have muscle weakness
Motor nerves play a role in voluntary movements, so if one of your motor nerves are pinched, you may experience muscle weakness. Muscle weakness and pain are two common symptoms when a motor nerve has a hard time sending messages to the brain, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes.
You experience numbness in one of your limbs
In addition to tingling and weakness, it’s also possible that a pinched nerve causes numbness. At first glance, numbness may not seem as bad as tingling or pain, but numbness comes with its own drawbacks. For instance, if you have numbness in your foot, it’s possible to cut your foot and not realize it. This can increase your risk of infections or other complications.
You have a sharp pain that radiates
Interestingly, compressed nerves can cause pain along the entire length of the nerve. This means that if your nerve is pinched in your neck, you could experience pain that radiates down to your arm or hand.
Treating a pinched nerve
The first step to treating a pinched nerve is discovering the cause of the compression. Depending on the cause of your pinched nerve, Dr. Sharma and Dr. Curtis create tailored treatment plans that may include rest, steroid injections, or even surgery.
At Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center, we’re happy to provide the spinal and nerve care you need so you can feel like yourself again. Request an appointment at one of our convenient Arizona locations by calling the location of your choice, or simply request an appointment online.