How to fix a trapped nerve

How to fix a trapped nerve


In this article let’s have a look at different ways of how to fix a trapped nerve. First, we should know what the meaning of a trapped nerve is.

A pinched or a trapped nerve is said to be so because there is damage or injury to one or group of nerves.

It is caused when a lot of pressure is being applied on the nerve due to different factors like injury, adjacent bones, tissues, cartilage, or muscles.

This puts pressure on the nerve, and it causes different symptoms like pain or tingling sensation in the affected nerve. It disrupts the function of the nerve.

It can also result in weakness or numbness in the nerve and the adjacent area. It can also be termed as a pinched or compressed nerve.

This compression can be a result of various adjacent things like swollen muscles, tendons, cartilage, or bones. This can happen anywhere in the body specially at some more compressible sites like the spine or wrist.

When the spine is affected, the pain can radiate down to the legs and whole back.

The pain in the wrist can result in carpal tunnel syndrome which comprises of pain in whole of hand and fingers. Not only can it have pain, it can also be accompanied with numbness.



What can be the symptoms of a pinched nerve?

What are the causes of a pinched nerve?

What are the risk factors?

How can I prevent this condition?

How can I treat a pinched nerve?



What can be the symptoms of a pinched nerve?

It can present itself in various signs and symptoms which can range from simple numbness to mild or severe pain.

Other common signs and symptoms are there is a decreased feeling of sensation in the area that is supplied by the effected nerve, the pain can be of different types.

It can be a sharp and aching pain whereas sometimes it can be a burning pain both of which can radiate outward.

Another symptom associated with this pinched nerve is paresthesia which presents itself as feelings of tingling and needles sensations. There can be muscle weakness in the area.

“Fallen asleep “is another common manifestation which is common in hand or foot.

All these manifestations are aggravated and worse at night while sleeping.


What are the causes of a pinched nerve?

Let’s now have a look at some of the common causes of the pinched nerve:

As already mentioned, the pinched nerve results from various things like compression and too much pressure, which can result from the surrounding tissue, bone, or cartilage.

Affected bones and cartilage usually are present in case of disc herniation which results in the compression of the nerve root of the surrounding.

In some other cases muscles and tendons can cause the problem. In case of other condition like carpal tunnel syndrome, there can be many factors.

Sometimes there might be various tissues that can be swollen which in turn puts pressure on the median nerve. 

Other times, it is the tendon sheaths that are swollen present inside the tunnel and another cause can be thickened or degenerated ligament. All of these conditions result in a narrowed tunnel.

In case of herniated disc, there might be inflammation or swelling in a bone or cartilage which results in the compression of the nerve root.

There are various medical conditions that can lead to the compression of the nerve or nerve roots, they comprise of:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Continuous stress from repetition of any work
  • Exercising or hobbies which comprises of sports
  • Being obese

This damage or effect on the nerve can be temporary or permanent.

Sometimes it is acute and sometimes it lasts for longer time when it is called as a chronic condition.

Acute condition lasts for a short period of time and it usually not that severe and it does not result in any kind of permanent damage to the nerve.

The moment the pressure is gone the nerve returns to its normal condition and starts functioning properly again.



What are the risk factors?

  • Being a woman: due to the fact that women have smaller carpal tunnels they are at higher risk of developing the syndrome and hence a pinched nerve.


  • Bone spurs: any trauma or condition that can cause the bone to thicken can result in the formation of bone spurs. one of these conditions is osteoarthritis. These bone spurs can result in the narrowing of the space where the nerves travel through, resulting in the pinched nerves.


  • RA: RA stands for rheumatoid arthritis. It is an autoinflammatory disease that comprises of the inflammatory joints. These inflammatory joints lead to compression of the adjacent nerves.


  • Thyroid diseases: For some reasons the people who have thyroid diseases are at high risk for carpal tunnel syndrome


  • Overactivity: any kind of jobs or activities that require repetition of some specific work can put the person in risk of developing pinched nerve. Some of these include any shoulder activities or involvement of other joints.


  • Diabetes: people who have diabetes are at comparatively higher risk of developing a nerve compression.

This is called peripheral neuropathy; it is caused by high levels of sugar in the blood. It is long term complication of diabetes.

The high levels of sugar in the blood leads to the damage of blood vessels supplying nerves of various parts of the body. In this condition the essential nutrient supply to the nerve is stopped, so in the long run the nerve fibers are damaged and sometimes they may just disappear.


  • Obesity: being obese is a risk factor for many different diseases including nerve problems. The extra weight usually puts extra pressure on different bones specially the one in the back called as the spine. The disc between each vertebra may undergo some sort of pressure which in turn can also damage the adjacent nerve which are the spinal nerves. The disc can become inflamed or herniated. Obesity also tends to increase the inflammatory factors of the body.


  • Pregnancy: associated weight gain is one of the factors why pregnancy is a risk factor for the nerve root compression. Another reason for this is due to the retention of water that happens in pregnancy.

Both of these components tend to increase the compression and strain on the spine and other joints hence putting a pregnant woman at an increased risk of developing a pinched nerve.

  • Bed rest for a long time: if you have been lying down to rest since a lot of time due to any condition, you might be at the increased risk of nerve root compression.


How can I prevent this condition?

Try not to put yourself in a specific position for a long time. For example, if you are sitting crossed legged, change your sitting position after a while.

Don’t cross your legs and remain in that position for a long no. of hours.

Exercise is always helpful, and we should incorporate at least a 30-minute workout in our daily schedule. It is very helpful; it can relax all the muscle in the body and hence the adjacent nerves and nerve roots. 

But excess of everything is bad too. Too much of exercise can put pressure on the muscles which is also not fruitful for the nerves.

So, limit any repetitions of exercises. And if you’re doing any kind of long-term activities and exercises take regular breaks from it. Maintain your weight and keep in the ideal scale. Being overweight or being underweight are both unhealthy for the body, so maintain a healthy body weight.


How can I treat a pinched nerve?

If your symptoms are severe and they comprise of sharp pain and other conditions, you should see a doctor.

The doctor will usually recommend you to stop any kind of activities which will result in overexertion of the nerve.

It will simply aggravate and increase the compression if you keep on moving the specific joint. Sometimes to stop the movement the doctor will recommend to place a splint to immobilize that specific area.

If you have the problem of carpal tunnel syndrome, the doctor will recommend you to wear the splint whole day and night as sometimes in the night the wrist flexes and may create problems.

  • Physical therapy: the one who is a physical therapist will teach you some specific exercises that can strengthen your muscles and can show you to stretch the muscles effectively, this will help relieve the pain on the effected nerve.


  • Medications: some of the medications like NSAIDS which comprises of ibuprofen and naproxen can help with the pain. Sometimes corticosteroid injections or oral medications are given to help with the pain and inflammation.


  • Operation: if nothing helps and the pain goes on for several weeks to months, the doctor might suggest surgical operation in order to remove the pressure on the nerve. The surgical procedures vary and may be different in different conditions.
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