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. 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.