Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve in the Neck - Continued

By Michele C. Hollow @michelechollow
January 16, 2018

Pinched nerve in your back

When you have a pinched nerve in your back, it could be sciatica; this can happen to your sciatic nerve, which starts in the lower or lumbar part of your spine and runs down the back of the legs. With sciatica, you can have pain running down one leg, a tingling, or numbness in your leg or foot. If not addressed it could lead to balance problems and muscle atrophy.

It could also be spinal stenosis. This problem is similar to sciatica, except instead of having the pain shooting down your leg it affects your arms and hands.

Pinched nerve in your hips

If you have a pinched nerve in your hips, the pain can be so bad that it can cause difficulty walking or make you walk with a limp. It can also cause pain in your groin.

Nerve pain in your legs

You can feel nerve pain in your legs in your buttocks, the back of your thighs, your calf, and even your toes. This is sciatic nerve pain.

How is a pinched nerve diagnosed?

Once you provide your doctor with the details of your pain, he or shee will perform a physical examination and may suggest an electromyography (EMG) or nerve conduction study. If you have an EMG, your doctor will insert a small needle electrode into your muscle; this records the activity of that muscle and helps the doctor determine the extent of the nerve damage.

If your pinched nerve is in your neck or back, your doctor will recommend that you have an MRI  or CT scan.

How to prevent getting a pinched nerve

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Limit repetitive activities
  • Be aware of your posture. Sit up straight, don’t hunch your back or cross your legs.
  • Add strength and flexibility exercises to your exercise regimen

How to treat a pinched nerve

Treatment depends on the location and cause of the pinched nerve. Following are ways to treat a pinched nerve:

  • If your pinched nerve is caused by repetitive activities, it’s wise to rest the affected area.
  • If your pinched nerve is in your lower back or neck, physical therapy can help.
  • Exercise can strengthen muscles and eliminate pressure on the area.
  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and naproxen may help.
  • Taking prescribed corticosteroid injections, which are anti-inflammatory medications, may also help.
  • If your pinched nerve causes carpal tunnel syndrome, which occurs in your wrist, you’ll want to wear a splint or brace.
  • In some cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve pressure on your nerve. Surgery is recommended if medications or physical therapy doesn’t eliminate your pain.


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March 27, 2020

Reviewed By:  

Janet O’Dell, RN