A pinched nerve is medically known as radiculopathy. It is characterized by this uncomfortable pain and sensation in the body due to a compression or constriction of a set of nerves. This condition is a symptom of several diseases that commonly start developing in adults as young as 30 years old. Below are some signs of a pinched nerve that you should never ignore.
Here Are 6 Signs of A Pinched Nerve to Never Ignore
“Treating persistent nerve pain can be frustrating. Nerve pain often has a very irritating quality that can be more uncomfortable than pain due to other causes.” – Howard LeWine, M.D.
1. Your hands and feet “fall asleep” often.
You often experience this sensation after sitting with your legs crossed for a long period. You have a hard time getting up and moving about because it seems like your feet have fallen asleep. If you slept on a chair with your arm hanging out for hours, you wake up with a numb and weak hand or arm.
In most cases, this happens as a result of a temporary nerve compression, but you gradually find relief once you’re up and moving your arms again. However, if the numbness doesn’t go away or develops out of nowhere, then it could be a sign of a concerning health issue. If your limbs regularly fall asleep and feel weaker, then consider visiting a neurologist to get a proper assessment.
2. You feel less sensation in one part of your body.
Do you notice less sensation in one area of your body, especially when you wake up in the morning? This could be an indication of poor blood circulation. If there is pressure blocking the proper flow of blood in your system, your cells might be deprived of oxygen and other nourishment. By itself, poor blood circulation isn’t a serious condition, but it can progress into a health problem linked to various diseases.
A pinched nerve may be a symptom of a cardiovascular problem, especially among women, so you need to have this checked if it’s becoming frequent and bothersome. According to experts, women don’t usually manifest the usual symptoms of a heart attack like chest pains, shortness of breath and fatigue, so they tend to delay treatment for a pinched nerve.
3. You feel “pins and needles” in your arms and legs.
That uncomfortable sensation of tingling and prickling in your arms and legs happens when you awkwardly lean on your limbs while standing or sitting for a long time. Normally, once you shift to a better position, the pins and needles go away. However, if the discomfort persists, it might be due to a nerve condition, which could lead to problems like neuritis, sciatica, or carpal tunnel syndrome.
In serious cases, pins and needles could be a symptom of an underlying condition like diabetic neuropathy. Occasional episodes of pins and needles aren’t concerning but if it’s chronic, consider seeing a doctor or a physiotherapist as soon as possible. You need a proper diagnosis and treatment since there are different types of diabetic neuropathy.
4. You have a recurring headache.
You can experience a headache with a pinched nerve around the neck area and it could be a symptom of a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or some form of degenerative disease. The pain that radiates from a pinched nerve usually develops around the back of the head. It might spread to the forehead. You may also experience difficulty in moving your head from side to side because it’s tender and numb.
Doctors might prescribe medication or muscle relaxants for headache relief or you might have to take oral steroids for long-term treatments. Undergoing physical therapy will also reduce the discomforts of the pinched nerve so that you won’t have your daily activities disrupted.
5. Your pains are accompanied with a burning sensation.
You’re suffering from inflammation of the nerves when you feel a burning sensation; this is your body’s defense mechanism against an injury or infection. But when you have a pinched nerve, the inflammation and pain might not be directly affecting the compressed area.
For instance, the pain of a common back problem like sciatica could radiate out to the buttocks, legs, calf, and foot as the nerves compress. Someone suffering from this condition might not be able to walk or stand because of the inflamed nerves. Relieving sciatica can take weeks for some people. For older individuals, the discomfort and body pain might go on for months with a proper treatment plan.
6. Your muscles are very weak.
Pinched nerves affect and interrupt the signals that the motor nerves deliver from the brain to the organs and senses. Hence, you feel muscle spasms when your nerves are compressed. Prolonged compression, however, can lead to muscle weakness as the signals remain blocked. The pressure also reduces the nutrients that the muscles connected to the nerves receive.
When this happens to your body frequently, it could be a symptom of a condition like multiple sclerosis (MS) or stroke. This is also more likely if you experience muscle coordination and breathing problems. Apparently, one in four patients suffering from MS originally received a pinched nerve diagnosis and some continue to live with a misdiagnosed condition.
With proper pain management and positive thinking, you can mitigate the long-term effects of a pinched nerve. Hence, getting an early diagnosis instead of ignoring the warning signs is vital to reversing the damage of this condition. Maintain a positive attitude about your health in order to preserve a good quality of life.