Understanding a Trapped Nerve

Pinched Nerve

Have you ever bent over to pick something up off of the ground only to find that the minute you stood back up you were in intense pain?

How about the mornings you wake up and find that you cannot move your head without terrible pain that starts in your neck and works its way out into your shoulders?

Both of these circumstances are most likely brought about as the result of a pinched or trapped nerve. This can be one of the most painful situations to be in that is not the result of a physical injury. Many times this type of pain occurs from an innocent movement, like getting out of bed, and not from a specific traumatic event. That is why you might not be able to explain to someone what injury specifically caused the pain to start as there was no specific injury.

This trapped nerve is usually caused by pressure being applied to the nerve by the soft tissues that surround it. These soft tissues can include tendons, cartilage, ligaments and muscles.  In most cases the nerves are pressed up against a bone which is what causes the pain that you are feeling. This pressure is also responsible for not allowing the nerve to return to its natural position.


The pain that you feel may originate in one area of your body such as your neck where the nerve is actually pinched, but the pain will often radiate into other areas of your body. This is known as referred pain and can manifest itself as real pain or as the feeling of pins and needles that you get when you have been sitting or laying in an awkward position for too long.

The pressure that has caused the nerve to become trapped may also cause not only the nerve to become trapped, but can cause a significant amount of inflammation. In turn this inflammation can cause even more pain and swelling making a bad situation even worse. In general there is very little risk of permanent damage from a pinched nerve as long as the duration of the trapping is not very long. However, if the duration becomes too long there is the risk of damage being done to the nerve.

In most cases the person who is suffering from a trapped nerve will recover within few days as long as they get plenty of rest and undertake a very conservative pattern of treatment. In many cases this treatment includes the use of alternating hot and cold treatments along with some very gentle stretching exercises. If the movements exacerbate the pain it may be necessary to immobilize the affected limb or to stick to bed rest if the pinched nerve is in your back or neck.

Depending on the severity of the pain, your doctor may prescribe a regimen of muscle relaxers and pain killers to help you until the pinched nerve is relaxed and back in its normal place. If the pain continues for more than three months you may have to seek a surgical intervention to relieve the pressure on the nerve. A trapped nerve can have an adverse affect on your life and needs to be treated as soon as possible. Here is the wiki for neuropathic pain medication.