Trapped Nerve

Potential Causes and Risks of a Trapped Nerve

A trapped nerve is the same as a pinched nerve, which can be painful but it can also lead to permanent nerve or tissue damage.  Additionally, a trapped nerve can affect virtually any part of the body although it is commonly seen in the neck, back, hands, and legs.  What happens is that pressure is applied to the nerve by tissue surrounding the nerve.  With this, the individual experiences pain, irritation, and even disruption of nerve function.

Although a trapped nerve can develop from many things, it is commonly associated with something work-related.  As an example, someone who works on the computer all day could develop a trapped nerve in the wrist or someone who works at the airlines and lifts baggage might develop a problem in the neck or back.  If the problem were minor, the area with the pinched nerve would have a tingling or numb sensation.  In more serious cases, the area of the trapped nerve would be painful that would generally radiated from the affected area of the body outward.

In addition to a trapped nerve being form compression, it can also be caused by constriction and stretching.  Along with on-the-job damage, this could be the result of joint disease, spinal arthritis, pregnancy, or injury as in the case of a herniated disc.  Sometimes, when swelling goes down, the trapped nerve will become freed, which means all symptoms go away but this type of problem can also lead to major complications.  If the trapped nerve were not freed, carpal tunnel syndrome, peripheral neuropathy, or tennis elbow, as example would be expected.

The most important thing with a trapped nerve is that when someone starts to experience any of the listed symptoms, he or she should see a doctor.  The reason is that the earlier a firm diagnosis can be made the less serious damage done.  The good news is that a trapped nerve can be treated.  Sometimes, a cortisone injection to reduce swelling will provide the nerve with room to free itself but other times, surgery is required, which would vary depending on the cause of the trapped nerve.

As an example, if someone had a trapped nerve in the back because of a bone spur pressing on the spinal column, a delicate operation would be required since the spine is involved.  Another example would be a trapped nerve in the wrists leading to Carpel Tunnel Syndrome.  In this case, a surgeon would make a tiny incision in the palm of the hand to release the nerve.  Usually, doctors will take the least invasive approach possible with medication, physical therapy, and injections but if necessary, a trapped nerve might require surgery.