The human body is filled with many, many nerves—tiny fibers that transmit messages through electrical pulses from the body to the brain and spinal cord. We have three different types of nerves:
- Sensory Nerves – Report sensation to the brain from the skin.
- Motor Nerves – Control movement in the muscles.
- Autonomic Nerves – Control functions like digestion, cardiac rhythm and respiration.
The central nervous system is made up of 43 pairs of nerves that connect the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. These nerves have an important job and, when functioning properly, allow us to move freely or even identify an injury. However, these nerves can become damaged from compression, causing pain and discomfort. When this happens, a pinched nerve is likely the culprit.
What Is a Pinched Nerve in the Neck?
While pinched nerves are common and oftentimes not serious, this condition can be very painful and uncomfortable and even lead to more serious conditions. Caused by the compression of a nerve along the cervical spine region, the effects of a pinched nerve in the neck may be felt in other parts of the body, such as the hands, elbows or fingers. This is because when a nerve is compressed, it signals messages of pain to other parts of the body.
What Causes a Pinched Nerve?
A pinched nerve in the neck may be caused by several different factors that all result in the compression of or pressure on a nerve. Oftentimes, the cause of a pinched nerve can be attributed to repetitive motions, remaining in the same position for too long or even a herniated disc pushing on the root of a nerve.
Pinched Nerve Symptoms in the Neck
Symptoms experienced due to a pinched nerve in the neck tend to vary. However, some common symptoms include pain, numbness, tingling, a “pins and needles” feeling and hot or cold sensations in the location of the compression. Pressure on a nerve root that exits the spine can cause neck or lower back pain and may even result in pain that radiates down path the nerve travels—such as the arms or legs.
Who’s at Risk for a Pinched Nerve in the Cervical Spine?
It’s possible for anyone to experience a pinched nerve. People who deal with disc weakness or herniation are more at risk for nerve compression. However, a nerve can be pinched in many ways, including overuse or inactivity. Some risk factors include:
- Poor posture
- A history of bone spurs
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Thyroid disease
There are also some particular nerves that are more at risk for compression, including those that travel through particularly narrow spaces with minimal soft tissue surrounding them.
The MISI Approach to Pinched Nerve Treatment
From physical therapy to medication, Minimally Invasive Surgical Institute has an array of treatment options for your painful and/or uncomfortable pinched nerve. While a pinched nerve typically requires no surgery, some cases can accelerate to a higher level of severity or lead to other, more serious conditions altogether.
While traditional surgical methods leave patients in recovery for a matter of months, the doctors here at MISI take a different approach and utilize minimally invasive techniques. With just a small incision and top-of-the-line technology, we are able to alleviate pain and discomfort associated with a pinched nerve in the neck or any region of the spine. With nothing more than a small bandage, our patients can oftentimes leave our facility within 24 hours following their surgery. For more information about the MISI approach to minimally invasive treatments for a pinched nerve, visit our treatment page here.
Are You Suffering from a Pinched Nerve in the Neck?
If you are experiencing painful, uncomfortable symptoms due to a pinched nerve in your neck or any other region of the spine, the doctors at MISI may be able to give you the relief you deserve. Please, schedule a consultation with us today.
Dr. Bryce Benbow has either authored or reviewed and approved this content.