A pinched nerve refers to a certain kind of damage to a nerve or group of nerves. It’s caused when a disc, bone, or muscle places increased pressure on the nerve.
It can lead to feelings of:
pins and needles
A pinched nerve can cause carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica symptoms (a pinched nerve can’t cause a herniated disc, but a herniated disc can pinch a nerve root), and other conditions.
Some pinched nerves will require professional care to treat.
See a doctor
If your pain is severe, constant, or keeps returning, you should see a doctor. The doctor may run some tests or ask a lot of questions about your lifestyle to determine what’s causing your pinched nerve.
If the pain, tingling, and numbness don’t resolve, it’s important that you see your physician. They may prescribe a stronger anti-inflammatory or suggest additional testing, such as an X-ray, to determine exactly where the nerve is pinched. Your doctor may also prescribe physical therapy, which can help to reduce symptoms.
It’s very important that you stop any at-home treatments if they seem to hurt you or make your condition worse. If you have numbness or tingling that isn’t resolving or is getting worse, contact your physician or an orthopedic physical therapist.
See a doctor immediately if you have a pinched nerve that’s:
affecting your bowel or bladder
causing a whole limb to be weak or give out
preventing you from grasping things
causing you to drop things
If at-home treatments aren’t helping, or if you continually get pinched nerves, your doctor may prescribe prescription painkillers, physical therapy, or even surgery.