Pain caused by a compressed or “pinched” nerve can be managed but may have long-term implications. An injury of this nature can be minor and short lived, or it can develop into a more permanent situation. A nerve or set of nerves can be damaged by compression, constriction or by being stretched. One of the most well known examples of this type of injury is a hand or foot that “falls asleep.” Many compressed or pinched nerves are related to on-the-job injuries or stresses. Symptoms of this condition include numbness, tingling, feelings of burning or pinching or pain radiating from the injury. Pinched nerves can also lead to long-term conditions such as tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome and peripheral neuropathy.
Causes of pinched nerves can include repetitive motion or sports injuries, poor posture and osteoarthritis. Obesity can also lead to this condition. Having extra fat on the body can cause nerves to become compressed when bones, muscles and cartilage put pressure on nerves. Many pregnant women experience the numbness of pinched nerves, including sciatic nerve. Pressure on the sciatic nerve during pregnancy can cause back pain or pain radiating down into the legs and feet.
People who have reoccurring pain from a pinched nerve should visit a doctor as soon as possible. Early treatment is important to avoid worsening of the condition. In some cases, damage can be irreversible. With treatment, however, most cases of pinched nerves will heal. Treatment for minor issues usually includes rest for the area in pain. Corticosteroids or other painkillers can bring relief. Other treatments may include surgery, physical therapy or splints to immobilize the injury.