What Is a Pinched Nerve? Everything You Need to Know

What Is a Pinched Nerve? Everything You Need to Know

man experiencing pain from pinched nerve

A pinched nerve is a common condition most people suffer from at some point in their lives. Something as simple as experiencing your leg falling asleep or the feeling of “pins and needles” in your hand is technically due to a pinched nerve. 

Most people don’t take pinched nerves seriously until the issue becomes severe and results in a stiff neck, aching back, or shooting pain in the leg. A retrospective study shows a pinched nerve, or cervical radiculopathy, affects a large number of Americans each year, most commonly people in the age group 50 to 54.

If you are suffering from a pinched nerve, it will be helpful to understand its causes, symptoms, and available treatments, such as chiropractic adjustments. Here, we’ve compiled a detailed guide on the pinched nerve condition to help you learn more.

What Is a Pinched Nerve?

In short, a pinched nerve is a condition that results from excessive pressure being applied to one specific nerve or multiple nerves. Also called a compressed nerve, a pinched nerve is caused by pressure from the surrounding tissues such as bones, cartilage, muscles, or tendons. It results in pain, tingling, numbness, discomfort, or weakness in different areas of the body. 

In many cases, a herniated disc is the root cause of a pinched nerve. When a disc in the spinal cord slips out from between vertebrae, it can put pressure on the nerve going down your leg or elsewhere. 

Typically, most patients experience a pinched nerve originating from their neck, upper middle back, or lower back. Pinched nerve pain can also be felt in elbows, wrists, and hands.

Where in the Body Can You Get a Pinched Nerve?

You can experience sensation from a pinched nerve throughout the body, depending on the the nerve or nerves being affected. For example, if you have a pinched nerve in your lower back, the pain may radiate from your leg to your foot, thus, affecting your mobility and causing other issues.

At Oak Brook Medical Group, we’ve treated numerous patients with pinched nerves. The most-affected areas by a pinched nerve include:

Shoulder and Neck 

Inside your cervical spine are eight pairs of spinal nerves surrounded by vertebrae. While the most common symptom that you experience when any of these nerves get compressed is pain, long-term effects can include paralysis. Furthermore, some patients even reported pain in their torsos, legs, arms, and hands stemming from a pinched nerve in the upper spinal cord. 

Upper Chest and Back 

There are 12 thoracic nerve pairs and five lumbar nerve pairs in this area, so the chances of experiencing a pinched nerve are high. Even a lumbar muscle injury can cause a pinched nerve in this area resulting in neck pain that might transfer to other parts of the body.

Elbow and Arm 

The ulnar nerve inside the elbow helps you move your hand, forearm, and certain fingers. Hitting the elbow, especially the funny bone, against something can compress the ulnar nerve, causing pain in the affected area.

You also might experience mobility issues, such as controlling your forearm and certain fingers, if you pinch the ulnar nerve.

Hand and Wrist 

While you can experience pain in your hands and wrists due to a compressed nerve in your shoulder and neck, the condition may also arise due to carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). The condition occurs when the median nerve experiences compression. Besides pain, you might experience tingling, weakness, and numbness in your hand and wrist.

The human body has roughly 7 trillion nerves and you can experience a pinched nerve anywhere in the body. It’s always advised to seek medical attention, such as chiropractic care when you experience pain in order to alleviate the symptoms and treat the root cause.

At Oak Brook Medical Group, our team of highly-qualified physicians, nurses, and physical therapists will assess your body to determine the cause of the issue. Our chiropractors can deliver non-invasive chiropractic treatment, such as spinal manipulation, as part of your individualized plan to treat the affected nerve.

Bid goodbye to the pain and other symptoms caused by pinched nerves. Call us at 630-317-7478 to book an appointment today.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve?

Just like a pinched nerve can occur anywhere in the body, its symptoms can vary depending on the location. You are more likely to experience the symptoms if you are between the ages of 30 to 50, as the vertebrae compress with age and the vertebral discs degenerate over time.

Although the most common symptoms of a pinched nerve include aching, sharp pain, tingling, or numbness in the affected and connected areas of your body, there might be some other overlooked symptoms as well. 

Below is a breakdown of common signs and symptoms of a pinched nerve that you should never ignore. 

Constant Burning Sensation and Pain Radiating Down Your Leg 

This is the most common symptom patients with a pinched nerve experience, especially when nerve compression occurs in the lower back. Injuries such as sprains and strains can cause sciatica, which is back pain that radiates down the back of the leg.

The branches of the sciatic nerve extend through the hips and down the leg, and as such, the pain and burning sensation caused by a pinched nerve can radiate down. At first, you might experience dull pain, but it lingers and combines with a burning sensation.

Must watch: Best Sciatica Treatment in Illinois

Pins and Needles Sensations (Paraesthesia)

Paraesthesia, or prickly sensations, is another common symptom of a pinched nerve. You can experience similar symptoms when you sit for a long duration and a nerve in your legs gets compressed. 

While the sensations caused by sitting for a long time are temporary, a pinched nerve can make you experience prickly sensations multiple times in a day, regardless of your position.

You feel the pins and needles sensations because the nerve isn’t completely blocked and is still able to transmit signals to the nervous system. Apart from a pinched nerve, paraesthesia in the hands also might indicate the possibility of carpal tunnel syndrome.  

Reduced Grip Strength 

Patients with pinched nerves often experience a reduction in their grip strength. This means their ability to grab and hold things becomes weak over time. When a nerve gets compressed, it fails to transmit signals to the brain. As a result, the brain doesn’t respond or responds poorly when you try to grip something.

You might experience difficulty in performing small-motor tasks, such as writing or pouring, due to a pinched nerve.

Muscle Weakness 

When you move, your nerves transmit signals from your extremities to the brain, stimulating the muscles to help you react in specific ways. A pinched nerve can hinder this transmission of signals, making the muscles feel weak and making mobility difficult. 

Frequent Numbness 

Nerve compression affects or shuts down the communication between the nerves and your body parts. As a result, your brain sometimes cannot feel sensations in those areas.

You may feel numb in only the affected areas. However, some patients report a lack of sensation all over their body, especially while sleeping with the arms or legs in an unusual position. 

Bladder or Bowel Incontinence 

The symptoms of a pinched nerve aren’t just limited to pain and restricted motion; they can also affect the functionality of your digestive or urinary tract. When a nerve in your lower back gets compressed, you might have urine or bowel movement issues.

What Are the Causes of a Pinched Nerve?

A pinched nerve in the body can be due to an injury or can seemingly appear out of nowhere.

Below we’ve listed some common causes of a compressed nerve to help you recognize the condition.

Herniated Disc 

There are several small cushions or discs in your back separating the vertebrae from one another. However, age, injury, and other factors can cause the jelly-like cushions to move out of their place, resulting in a condition known as a herniated disc.

A herniated disc hinders the normal functionality of the spinal column and can also put pressure on the surrounding nerves, causing a pinched nerve. Some common symptoms of a pinched nerve due to a herniated disc include:

  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Muscle spasms

A herniated disc in its extreme stages requires surgical intervention, so it’s important to get the issue corrected at the earliest opportunity. The right chiropractic adjustment in Oak Brook might help relieve pressure and move the disc back into place.

Bone Spurs 

Any variance in tendons, bones, or ligaments can put undue pressure and stress on the nerves, causing a pinched nerve and all the symptoms that come with it. Bone spurs can develop on any bone throughout the body, but people experience them mostly in a joint. 

Identifying and treating a pinched nerve caused by bone spurs is easier than finding compressed nerves along the spinal cord. Our team at Oak Brook Medical can treat pinched nerves due to bone spurs and get you back to your daily activities.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome 

Carpal tunnel syndrome affects a big population, and most patients experience its recurring symptoms. In patients with this condition, the sheaths around the hand nerves become inflamed, compressing the major nerves. This compression of nerves causes dysfunction, and the patient experiences most symptoms of a pinched nerve. 

Spinal Stenosis 

Spinal stenosis occurs when the spaces in your spine begin to narrow. When the spine narrows, it compresses the surrounding spinal nerves and causes pinched nerves.

A pinched nerve in your spine isn’t just immensely painful; it can also lead to mobility issues if left untreated. There are different types of spinal stenosis affecting different parts of the body:

  • Cervical spinal stenosis (affecting the neck) 
  • Tandem spinal stenosis (affecting multiple areas of the spine)
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis (affecting the lower back)
  • Foraminal stenosis (affecting the openings between the bones)

Rheumatoid Arthritis 

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that can cause acute or chronic inflammation, joint pain, and tissue deterioration throughout the body. Rheumatoid arthritis usually happens on both sides of the body, so if one joint becomes affected by this condition, the other joint will also become affected.

Another symptom of this medical condition is swelling and tenderness in the joints, and this can put stress on the nerves. Some patients also develop deformities that put pressure on the surrounding nerves.

Most of these conditions require surgical treatments in their extreme stages, so it’s better to seek treatment as soon as you experience any symptoms of a pinched nerve.

Chiropractic care is helping numerous people alleviate nerve pain and other serious problems stemming from a compressed nerve. Get in touch with the best chiropractors in Oak Brook, Illinois by filling out this form. Or you can call us at 630-317-7478 to schedule an appointment. 

Best Exercises and Stretches for a Pinched Nerve 

Your body is interconnected so you can use several exercises and stretches to eliminate pain and extend your range of motion. According to expert chiropractors, these are the best exercises and stretches you can try at home for temporary relief.

Side Bends 

Side bends can help relieve pressure from your back and neck. To do a side bend, stand with your hands clasped over the head, keeping the neck straight. Now slowly lean from the core to the left and hold, stretching the torso. Do the same on the right side. Repeat several times.

Shoulder Rolls 

By moving the shoulders, you can reduce tension in the neck and alleviate pain caused by a pinched nerve. Moreover, it helps in minimizing headaches and muscle tissue tightness due to poor posture.

To do shoulder rolls, you move the shoulders up and down in a circular motion. Roll your shoulders forward and up towards the ear, then move your shoulders back and down, pushing the blades together. Repeat the entire cycle for around 30 seconds, and then do it in a reversed direction.


If you are experiencing symptoms of a pinched nerve, twists might help bring you some relief. These basic stretches also reduce muscle tension and are great for alignment issues in the back.

Sit on a comfortable chair with your back straight and feet flat on the floor. Put your left hand on the right knee while slowly twisting your shoulders and torso to the right. Hold the position for 10 seconds, and return to a normal position. Repeat on the other side, and then return to your normal position. 

Median Nerve Slider 

The median nerve travels from the shoulder down the arm to the end of your forearm. People experiencing pain and numbness in the hand or arm due to a pinched nerve can try the median nerve slider stretching technique to suppress the symptoms.

Start with the arm straight up and out to the side. Palm should be facing upwards.  Next, bend the same side wrist upwards(flexed) as the head is tilted away from the arm that is lifted. Then, bend your wrist downward as you tilt the head towards the lifted arm.  Repeat the entire process for the other hand. Do this stretch 5–6 times on each side to experience relief. 

Neck Tilts 

Those who can’t dedicate time to stretching can do simple neck tilts anywhere at any time. These simple tilting exercises stretch the muscles at the back of the neck, providing temporary relief from pinched nerve symptoms. 

Stand with your back straight and draw your chin in toward the neck. Stop when you feel the stretch in the back of your neck. Next, tilt your head up toward the ceiling. Extend the chin up and down about 5–10 times. 

💡 Pro Tip: Watch our expert chiropractor’s advice on how to sleep with a pinched nerve.

These stretches work well, but only provide temporary relief from pain and numbness. To experience long-lasting results and to treat the root cause of the problem, you should opt for chiropractic care. 

A trained chiropractor for pinched nerve issues can assess your body to determine the affected region. Next, these professionals provide a combination of non-invasive treatments, such as spinal manipulation, chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy, and massage therapy, to alleviate the symptoms.

Visit the Oak Brook Medical Group facility and experience world-class chiropractic care and other treatments. Call us at 630-317-7478 to schedule your visit to treat a pinched nerve or another issue without pain medication.

How Do Chiropractors Diagnose a Pinched Nerve?

At our chiropractic care and natural pain management center in Oak Brook, Illinois, our medical professionals can diagnose a compressed nerve and create a personalized treatment plan for you. Chiropractors use several techniques and methods to find the affected nerves.

The providers at the Oak Brook Medical Group examine the following things in a patient with a pinched nerve complaint:

  • Balance
  • Range of motion
  • Muscle strength 
  • Leg and arm reflexes

Besides examining these things, we can use imaging methods such as X-rays, ultrasounds, and CT scans to determine the root cause of the issue.

Treatments for a Pinched Nerve 

Expert medical professionals recommend non-surgical methods as the first line of treatment for a pinched nerve. Here are a few treatments that help alleviate pain, numbness, and other symptoms caused due to a compressed nerve.

General Chiropractic Care 

Chiropractic care helps improve the overall health of your spine, which in return reduces symptoms caused by a compressed nerve. The best part about chiropractic treatments is that they are suitable for people of all age groups. Moreover, chiropractic care is a completely non-invasive treatment option that reduces pain while promoting overall optimal health. 

» More: How Chiropractors Can Help With Natural Pain Management

Physical Therapy 

Physical therapy includes target stretches and exercises aimed to help ease pressure on the nerves while relieving pain. Our team of chiropractors and physical therapists are trained professionals who will develop an individualized physical therapy plan for you depending on your unique requirements.

Physical therapists at the Oak Brook Medical Group will help you with different types of exercises and stretch to make you feel relaxed and build your strength. The therapists will even help you learn to perform these exercises on your own so you can practice them in the comfort of your home. 

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections

According to a medical study, PRP injections can provide relief from pain while restoring degenerated muscles. In addition, platelet-rich plasma treatment has been proven effective in treating several nerve injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, and similar conditions.

Depending on the location and severity of the pinched nerve, our medical team can use PRP treatment to reduce pain and inflammation. Many patients opt for PRP injections as it is a minimally invasive treatment technique with a quick healing process.

Trigger Point Injections (TPI)

Another commonly used treatment is trigger point injections. With this treatment, a solution (anesthetic or anti-inflammatory mixture) is injected directly into the muscle knot causing pain. It can help treat issues related to a pinched nerve like pain, limited range of motion, muscle weakness, and more.

Don’t Let a Pinched Nerve Limit You: Call Oak Brook Medical Group 

A compressed nerve can take a toll on your physical and mental well-being. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above and suspect a pinched nerve, you can visit our facility in Oak Brook for a complete assessment and holistic treatment plan.

Our chiropractors and wellness team can help you understand your condition and design a unique treatment plan to address your needs.

At Oak Brook Medical Group, our staff is highly trained and can deliver a wide range of services, including chiropractic treatments, physical therapy, massage therapy, trigger point injections, and more to get you closer to your optimal health.

Don’t wait for the problem to worsen; call us at 630-317-7478 to book your appointment or fill out this online form to get started with treatment for a pinched nerve today.