Pinched Nerve Symptoms in Neck, Shoulder, and Lower Back

doctor consultation for pinched nerves

Pinched nerve symptoms occur with tingling, numbness, burning pain, stabbing pain, or sharp pain that radiates down an arm or leg. 

Nerves can be pinched anywhere in the body and can hamper your daily activities. In this blog, we will help you understand the most common areas of the body where pinched nerve pain usually occurs; specifically the neck, shoulder, and lower back. 

In each area of the body, we will discuss the symptoms that a patient is most likely to feel. Additionally, we will cover the most common frequently asked questions and treatments that patients can undergo to surpass pinched nerves.

What is a Pinched Nerve?

A pinched nerve occurs when an inflammation on the nerve root is caused by pressure (also called nerve compression). Symptoms of a pinched nerve generally include pain, tingling, and numbness. On the other hand, once the nerve compression eases or the pressure is relieved on the area, the nerve function will return to normal.

Lower Back Pinched Nerve

lower back pinched nerve

Are you feeling a lot of pain in your lower back? Pinched nerves or your lower back might be the culprit! 

A pinched nerve in the lower back area is called sciatica (also known as lumbar radiculopathy). The sciatic nerve runs from your spinal cord down to each leg, which can be affected by nerve compression due to pressure.  A pinched nerve in the low back can happen when something presses against the nerves in your spine as they exit through small openings between vertebrae (bones). 

Causes: 

  • Herniated disc: Herniated disc, also known as a slipped disc, is one of the most common causes of lower back pinched nerves. The intervertebral discs are found between each vertebra in the spine. They act as cushions for your spine and help to absorb shock. When these discs become damaged or degenerate, they can cause pinched nerves in the back or neck area.
  • Traumatic injuries:  Traumatic injuries such as falling and hitting your lower back can also be one of the causes.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: When the inflamed joints and muscles around your spine compress the nerves that run through them, it can cause pain, numbness, and tingling sensations

Symptoms:

  • Pain that moves from one side of your lower back to another
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Weakness in the affected leg
  • Muscle spasms
  • Loss of reflex

[Related: 6 Signs Your Sudden Lower Back Pain Is Serious]

Home Remedies:

If you have pinched nerve symptoms in your lower back, there are various treatments that you can try at home such as the following:

  • Modify your daily activities: Limit yourself from lifting heavy objects and sitting for too long.
  • Hot and cold compress: Hot and cold compresses can help relieve pain and muscle spasms. You can apply this for 20 minutes a couple of times a day. If you recently had a back injury, do not apply heat to the affected area.
  • Exercising: Consistent physical activity can help prevent the occurrence of pinched nerves on your back. Do light exercises such as walking and light yoga.
  • Sleeping positions: Ask your doctor about the best sleeping position that you can do to prevent putting more pressure on your back. 

Neck Pinched Nerve

neck pinched nerve

Neck pinched nerve (cervical radiculopathy) is a painful condition that occurs when the nerves in your neck are compressed. It can be caused by a variety of things, including poor posture, a car accident, or even sleeping on one side for too long.

The pain feels sharp and burning and increases when the neck is extended. 

Causes:

  • Disk degeneration due to aging—a condition that puts excess pressure on the nerve root, which can lead to pinched nerves.
  • Lifting heavy weights
  • Diving
  • Use of driving equipment that produces vibrations
  • Playing golf

Symptoms:

Neck pinched nerve symptoms include:

Home Remedies:

Below are some of the remedies that you can do for your painful neck:

  • Exercises to strengthen your neck muscles
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Hot and cold compresses
  • Neck massages
  • Adequate rest

[Related: 7 Home Remedies for Pinched Nerve in Neck]

Shoulder Pinched Nerve

shoulder pinched nerve

In the shoulders, many nerves can become pinched. This is typically due to issues such as sleeping in an awkward position or carrying weight unevenly across both shoulders. A pinched nerve can cause pain and numbness in the affected area. It may also prevent you from moving certain muscles or feeling certain sensations like touch, heat, or cold.

Causes:

  • Disk degeneration
  • Herniated disk
  • Acute injury

Symptoms:

  • Muscle weakness in arms, hands, or shoulders
  • Pain and numbness in arms, hands, and fingers
  • Tingling sensation in fingers
  • Pain when moving shoulder joint
  • Swelling around the neck or shoulder joint

Home Remedies:

  • Apply ice and heat packs 
  • Get a gentle massage 
  • Correct your posture
  • Improve your workstation 
  • Get an ample amount of sleep
  • Do low-impact exercise

[Related: 15 Easy Ways To Relieve a Pinched Nerve In  Shoulder Without Surgery]

FAQs:

How do you fix a pinched nerve?

A patient can have different options to treat pinched nerves, depending on the best course of action considered by their doctors. If pinched nerve pain has become a chronic condition, you can get physical therapy, selective nerve root blocks, facet injections, lumbar epidural steroid injections, or surgery.

What triggers a pinched nerve?

There are many possible causes of a pinched nerve, including muscle spasms, carpal tunnel syndrome, and repetitive motion injuries. A pinched nerve can also be caused by an injury to the neck or back. If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to talk with your doctor about treatment options.

Do pinched nerves go away on their own?

Some pinched nerves do go away on their own, but not all of them. The thing is, the type of nerve that’s pinched can affect how long it takes for it to heal. A pinched nerve in your back might take months, while a pinched nerve in your wrist could fix itself within days or weeks.

If you’re suffering from chronic pain due to a pinched nerve, you should always consult a doctor before trying any home remedies or treatments. 

How long do pinched nerve symptoms last?

Pinched nerve pain can last anywhere from a few days to a few months. The good news is that most cases resolve within a few weeks without treatment. However, if you experience chronic pain, your doctor may suggest physical therapy or medication to help manage symptoms.

Make Yourself Free from the Pain!

Don’t live with chronic pain! Vascular and Interventional Specialists of Prescott can help you treat pinched nerves properly; before you’re stuck with this symptom forever. We have over 10 years of experience in treating nerve and blood vessel-related conditions. Give us a call today!

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Vascular & Interventional Specialists of Prescott was formed in 2010 by a group of subspecialty radiologists that perform numerous minimally-invasive, low-risk procedures using the tools of our trade for guidance—x-ray, ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI. The team’s goal is to educate patients and medical communities, while also providing safe and compassionate health care, with rapid recovery times and low risk of complications.

About Vascular & Interventional Specialists of Prescott

Vascular & Interventional Specialists of Prescott was formed in 2010 by a group of subspecialty radiologists that perform numerous minimally-invasive, low-risk procedures using the tools of our trade for guidance—x-ray, ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI. The team’s goal is to educate patients and medical communities, while also providing safe and compassionate health care, with rapid recovery times and low risk of complications.