Sunday, October 3, 2010

What is a Pinched Nerve?

Nerves extent from the brain through the spinal cord into the arms and legs and transmit messages in the form of electrical impulses to and from the brain and throughout the body. Nerves that extent from the spine into the arms or legs are called peripheral nerves.

If the nerve is pinched, the flow of messages is reduced or blocked. If the nerve is pinched or blocked long enough, the nerve may lose its ability to transmit electrical charges, and the muscles controlled by those nerves may not function properly, or the skin linked to that nerve may feel numb.

A nerve may become “pinched” as it leaves the spine by a herniated disc or bone spurs.

The symptoms of a pinched nerve depend on which nerve is being affected. A pinched nerve in the low back often includes radiating pain or numbness down the leg. A pinched nerve in the neck can cause pain or numbness in the arm and hand.

Muscle spasms and strains can also put pressure on a nerve, causing temporary pinched-nerve like symptoms. If your pinched nerve symptoms are caused by muscle spasm or sprain, you may be able to relieve those symptoms by:
  • Alternating between heat and ice on the painful area
  • Taking a hot shower
  • Laying down with a rolled up towel under your neck
  • Using a handheld massager
  • Getting a massage
  • Do range of motion stretches
  • Take a light walk
  • Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory
If you’ve suffered a pinched nerve as the result of a Minnesota work injury, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. For a free, no-obligation consultation to learn about your legal rights, call Meuser & Associates at 877-746-5680 or click here to send us an email.
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