A pinched nerve (radiculopathy: for more information see below) occurs when too much pressure is applied to a nerve by surrounding tissues, such as bones, cartilage, muscles or tendons. This pressure disrupts the nerve’s function, causing pain, tingling, numbness, weakness or any combination of the previous listed.
A pinched nerve can occur at a number of sites in your body. A pinched nerve in your neck can cause neck & upper back pain, shoulder pain, pain at your scapula (shoulder blade) and/or down your arm to your hand. A pinched nerve in your wrist can lead to pain and numbness in your hand and fingers (carpal tunnel syndrome). Having a herniated disk in your lower spine, for example, may put pressure on a nerve root, causing pain that radiates down the back of your leg.
With physical therapy and other conservative treatments, most people recover from a pinched nerve within a few days or weeks. Rarely but sometimes, a surgical intervention is needed to relieve pain from a pinched nerve.