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Symptoms and Signs of Pinched Nerve (Nerve Entrapment or Nerve Compression)

Doctor's Notes on Pinched Nerve (Nerve Entrapment or Nerve Compression)

A pinched nerve is a nerve cell part that is compressed to the point of altering its ability to carry information or signals. The symptoms of a pinched nerve depend on what nerve is affected. For example, a pinched nerve in the neck can cause neck pain and stiffness or even symptoms of pain, weakness, tingling, and/or numbness that go down the arm. However, the most common symptoms of a pinched nerve are pain, numbness, tingling or weakness of the muscles along the path of the pinched nerve. In addition, a pinched nerve may feel like a body part has “fallen asleep” and become numb and relatively not responsive to your attempts to move it.

A pinched nerve is caused when the nerve is damaged or injured by direct pressure or compression. There are many situations that can cause nerve compression or put pressure on the nerve. Examples include herniated discs, arthritis, bone spurs, trauma, tumors, narrowing of the spinal canal, bruising, and/or swelling. Reducing the nerve compression may reverse or stop the signs and symptoms in some people.

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.