Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Health Center

Font Size

Pinched Nerve

What is Pinched Nerve?

The term "pinched nerve" describes one type of damage or injury to a nerve or set of nerves. The injury may result from compression, constriction, or stretching. Symptoms include numbness, "pins and needles" or burning sensations, and pain radiating outward from the injured area. One of the most common examples of a single compressed nerve is the feeling of having a foot or hand "fall asleep." Pinched nerves can sometimes lead to other conditions such as peripheral neuropathy, and tennis elbow. The extent of such injuries may vary from minor, temporary damage to a more permanent condition. Early diagnosis is important to prevent further damage or complications. A pinched nerve is a common cause of on-the-job injury.

Is There Treatment for a Pinched Nerve?

The most frequently recommended treatment for pinched nerve is rest for the affected area. Corticosteroids -- steroids that ease inflammation -- help alleviate pain. In some cases, surgery is recommended. Physical therapy may be recommended and splints or collars may be used.


What Is the Prognosis for a Pinched Nerve?

With treatment, most people recover from a pinched nerve. However, in some cases, the damage is irreversible.

What Research Is Being Done for Pinched Nerves?

Within the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) research programs, pinched nerves are addressed primarily through studies associated with pain research. The NINDS vigorously pursues a research program seeking new treatments for pain and nerve damage with the ultimate goal of reversing debilitating conditions such as pinched nerves.

Rehab Organizations

National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC)
4200 Forbes Boulevard
Suite 202
Lanham, MD 20706-4829
Tel: 301-459-5900/301-459-5984 (TTY) 800-346-2742
Fax: 301-562-2401

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Kimball Johnson, MD on July 25, 2012

Today on WebMD

illustration of nerves in hand
Elderly patient undergoing water therapy
Nerve Pain Slideshow
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms
neural fiber
acupuncture needles in woman's back
Woman opening window
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Surgery