A pinched nerve can be a source of pain that not only affects the area surrounding the nerve but radiates down any extremities attached to the nerve. In addition to pain, this condition can lead to weakness, loss of function, numbness, and tingling. Here at the office of Craig C. Callewart, MD, we encourage you to learn more about pinched nerve treatment.
Living with pain is a frustrating, often overwhelming experience. Pain can affect your ability to live a normal life. Pain can affect the way that you interact with other people, it can make you less patient, and it can make you act in a way you normally wouldn’t if pain were not a factor.
Living with muscle weakness or loss of function can also be a source of irritation. It is stressful when your body does not respond the way that you want it to or does not respond the way that you are accustomed to it responding.
Before a person gets a proper diagnosis, they might be confused about what is causing their body to react the way that it is reacting. Since a pinched nerve may cause symptoms to be felt in a distant area of the body, a person may wonder why, for example, their foot is drooping or why their big toe has lost its strength when they have had no injuries.
You can pinch a nerve in a number of places in your body. One of the more common locations is your lower spine. When a nerve is pinched in the lower spine, this is often the result of a herniated disc putting pressure on the nerve. This is most commonly seen with the sciatic nerve. The pressure put on the sciatic nerve by disc material may cause pain that radiates all the way down the leg.
Another common location for a pinched nerve is the wrist. This can lead to numbness in the fingers and in the hand. It may even be the result of carpal tunnel syndrome. A positive thing is that most people can find relief from a pinched nerve by resting and recovering for a few weeks. Sometimes, though, when the condition is more severe, physical therapy may be needed or surgery may be recommended.
What Causes a Pinched Nerve?
The exact cause is going to vary depending on the location of the impingement. Generally, pressure is put on the nerves by the tissues that surround it. It could be bone, cartilage, or disc material. In other cases, pressure is put on the nerves by tendons and muscles.
In some cases, multiple tissues are putting pressure on the nerve. For example, when a person has carpal tunnel syndrome, pressure may be applied simultaneously by a swollen tendon sheath, enlarged bones, and thickened ligaments.
Some people pinch a nerve as a result of injury. This is often the case with a herniated disc. A person may lift something that is too heavy, they may move in an awkward way, or they may have engaged in some other activity where they injured themselves.
For some people, obesity is a factor. Because they are carrying so much weight, their body has contorted to try to support the weight. The result is that tissues that would not otherwise have put pressure on the nerve are now compressing the nerve, leading to pain, weakness, tingling, etc.
It is important that as soon as a person recognizes the signs of a pinched nerve, they immediately take steps to rectify it. If a nerve is pinched for a relatively short period of time, there may be no permanent damage once the compression is relieved, the nerve is able to recuperate, and normal function returns. However, if the impingement lasts for an extended period of time, chronic pain may develop or it may result in permanent nerve damage.
Risk Factors to Consider
The following are a few factors that may increase the chances of you having a pinched nerve:
- Gender: Women are more inclined to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. It is thought that this is the case because of women having smaller carpal tunnels.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: When a person is suffering with rheumatoid arthritis, they are battling with inflammation that may compress the nerves. They are more susceptible to nerve compression around their joints.
- Diabetes: People who battle with diabetes have a higher risk of a nerve impingement.
- There are a number of lifestyle factors that may also increase the chances of you having a compressed nerve. For example, if you have a job that requires you to engage in repetitive movements, especially movements that involve the wrist, the hand, the shoulder, or the lower back, your chances of pinching a nerve increase.
How to Protect Yourself
There are some things you can do to protect yourself from dealing with a compressed nerve. First, work on your posture. Standing up straight, sitting in an ergonomic chair, and not lying on one side or another for an extended period of time will minimize your chances of dealing with this condition.
If you have a job that requires you to do repetitive motion, schedule regular breaks and perform recommended exercise and stretching. Regular exercise, strength training, and flexibility exercises should be a part of your daily routine. You should strive to maintain a healthy weight and eat a healthy diet.
If you have battled with a pinched nerve for some time, you do not need us to tell you how frustrating and debilitating this is. You have seen for yourself how tasks that were once easy for you to perform are now challenging. You have seen how this condition has affected your ability to work, to play, and to interact with the people who you care for.
Get In Touch with Us for More Information
You do not have to live with the unpleasant symptoms that often accompany a pinched nerve. To learn more about pinched nerve treatment, we warmly invite you to reach out and make an appointment with the office of Craig C. Callewart, MD. At our convenient locations in Dallas and Addison, our caring and dedicated team of professionals will be pleased to explain pinched nerve treatment in full and answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to set up your consultation – we look forward to speaking with you!