PAIN CARE

Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve in the Neck

By Michele C. Hollow @michelechollow
 | 
January 16, 2018

Pinched nerves can affect different parts of your body. Learn about symptoms of a pinched nerve in the neck, shoulders, back, hips, and legs.

Cameron Foss was in excruciating pain that started in the back of her neck and moved down to her right arm. She just moved into a new house and thought the heavy lifting she was doing was the cause. Later that night, the pain moved to her lower back. She had classic symptoms of a pinched nerve in the neck.

 

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What is a pinched nerve?

A pinched nerve occurs when increased pressure irritates or damages a peripheral nerve. (That’s a nerve outside your brain and spinal cord.) That pressure is so intense that it can temporarily halt the nerve’s function. In addition to a pinched nerve in your neck, you can get a pinched nerve in your shoulder, back, hips, and have nerve pain in your legs.

“It’s extremely painful,” Foss said. “I made an appointment with a doctor who wanted me to give full details of the pain — where it was located and exactly what it felt like. I had to list all of the symptoms, too.”

Describing the symptoms of a pinched nerve is the first thing your doctor will ask. Following are symptoms of a pinched nerve in the neck and other parts of your body.

Symptoms of a pinched nerve in the neck, shoulders, back, hips, and legs can include:

  • Numbness
  • Sharp, aching, or burning pain. People who experience this often say the pain feels as if it’s radiating outward.
  • Tingling
  • Muscle weakness
  • Feeling like your hand, arm, or foot has fallen asleep

If you think you have a pinched nerve in your neck, talk to your doctor. The good news is that more often than not, a pinched nerve in the neck will resolve without any treatment within 3 to 6 weeks.

Pinched nerve in your shoulder

It could be a pinched nerve or tendinitis, arthritis, a torn cartilage, or many other conditions. Since it could be a number of conditions, if you have a pinched nerve in your shoulder, you’ll have to provide your doctor with the details of your shoulder pain. He may refer you to a spine specialist who might be able to tell you which nerve is being pinched.

 

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Updated:  

January 16, 2018

Reviewed By:  

Janet O’Dell, RN