Can A Pinched Nerve Cause Numbness?

If you've ever felt an ache in your back and stiffness in your arms or legs, it's possible you suffered a pinched or compressed nerve. According to the Mayo Clinic, a pinched nerve occurs when nearby tissues, like bone or muscle, apply too much pressure on a nerve root, resulting in aches and pains. A pinched nerve can occur anywhere in the body, from the back and shoulders to the arms and neck. 

For example, people who suffer a pinched nerve in the neck may notice difficulty turning their heads. Something as simple as sleeping in an awkward position can result in a pinched nerve. While too much pressure on a nerve is what really causes the uncomfortable feeling, some conditions may lead to a compressed nerve. The Cleveland Clinic reports repetitive motions, rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, and aging are just a few risk factors that can result in a pinched nerve. 

Pressure on a nerve root can occur from making the same movements repeatedly, like typing on a keyboard. Tendons can become inflamed, putting pressure on the tissue in your hands and possibly resulting in carpal tunnel syndrome. Rheumatoid arthritis is also known for putting pressure on joints, which causes inflammation and pressure on nerve roots (via the Cleveland Clinic).

Symptoms of a pinched nerve

Ask anyone who's suffered a pinched nerve what it feels like and they're likely going to say it was painful. However, pain is just one of the many symptoms expected with a pinched nerve. According to Integrity Spine and Orthopedics, symptoms of a pinched nerve include a burning or tingling sensation and muscle weakness. Many people who experience a pinched nerve also endure numbness in the affected area.

Where you feel pain is going to depend on where your pinched nerve is located. For example, if you suffer a pinched nerve in the back, you'll likely experience symptoms in the leg, foot, or buttocks. The shoulder, hand, and arm are affected if a pinched nerve occurs in the neck area (via Integrity Spine and Orthopedics).

Thankfully, a pinched nerve can usually be taken care of at home. MedicalNewsToday reports getting some extra sleep can help the pinch nerve recover quickly, but you'll want to try and avoid repetitive use with the affected area. Check with your doctor on the use of over-the-counter pain medications, like ibuprofen. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS, can relieve swelling and pain until the pinched nerve is able to fully heal.