The most commonly known pinched nerve would be the sciatic nerve. When pinched by a disc protrusion, the sciatic nerve in the back can cause leg pain radiating from the buttock down the leg. Regardless of the cause, nerve entrapment will result in a combination of nerve pain, sensory loss, muscle weakness or altered reflexes.
Nerves can be pinched anywhere in the body, and symptoms may appear to be similar to other conditions, a pinched neck nerve can mimic symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome or tennis elbow.
There are 5 main symptoms for pinched nerve:
- Nerve pain
- Altered sensation: paraesthesia (pins and needles) or anaesthesia (numbness)
- Muscles weakness
- Diminished reflexes
- Loss of bladder or bowel function
Pain is sent from your pinched nerve through the spinal cord nerves to your brain, where pain is interpreted.
Your physiotherapist or doctor can detect where your nerve is pinched by the symptoms that you describe. They may refer you for further diagnostic testing such as an X-ray, CT scan, MRI or nerve conduction testing to confirm the diagnosis or to view the severity of the nerve pinch.
The treatment for nerve entrapment varies due to the location and cause of the pinched nerve. Treatments can include:
- Resting the effective area especially when caused by repetitive activities
- Exercise to strengthen core muscles and decreases pressure on a nerve root
- Anti-inflammatory medication