Spotting the Warning Signs of a Pinched Nerve

Don’t you hate when your foot falls asleep? Comedian Steven Wright used to joke that it meant that your foot would be up all night. But for most people, having your hand or foot fall asleep usually doesn’t make anyone laugh. It’s a strange, uncomfortable feeling that you’d like to avoid.

The reason your foot falls asleep is that it’s stayed in the same position for quite a while, causing nerve compression in your foot — also called a pinched nerve. Most of the time, you can shake it away and uncompress that nerve. 

Some types of pinched nerves — radiculopathy, for example, which is the term for a pinched nerve in your spine — are more than just a strange or uncomfortable feeling. A pinched nerve can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in your foot, arm, wrist, back, or neck.

What is a pinched nerve?

A pinched nerve refers to any condition in which a nerve is injured or damaged. Usually, the nerve is compressed in some fashion, caused by inflammation or pressure from surrounding bones, cartilage, muscles, tendons, or discs. 

A common reason for a pinched nerve is a herniated disc. Your spine is comprised of bones called vertebrae. Your spinal cord runs down the middle of your vertebrae, with nerve roots shooting out between your vertebrae.

In between your vertebrae are cushy discs that protect your spinal column as you bend and move. When these discs move out of place, they can put pressure on a nerve, sending radiating pain to your back, neck, legs, or shoulders.

What are the signs and symptoms of a pinched nerve?

How do you distinguish between everyday back pain and a pinched nerve? Other symptoms usually go along with radiculopathy. Common signs and symptoms of pinched nerves include:

Treatment options for a pinched nerve

Often rest, massage, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen sodium (Aleve), can help. If your pain and other symptoms are not resolved after a few days of rest and NSAIDs, you should make an appointment with Space City Pain Specialists.

Depending on the cause and severity of your pinched nerve symptoms, our specialists can recommend a personalized treatment plan to help you find relief. Treatment options may include physical therapy, medications or steroid injections, electrical stimulation, regenerative medicine, COOLIEF* radiofrequency treatment, or even surgery.

If you think you have a pinched nerve, contact Space City Pain Specialists for relief. Call one of our four convenient locations in the greater Houston area, or make an appointment online today.

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