What Is Nerve Compression?

A woman with neck pain from a compressed nerve.
Individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome may experience numbness or tingling sensation in the fingers.
Carpal tunnel sydrome is a common type of nerve compression in the wrist and hand.
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  • Written By: Alex Paul
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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Nerve compression occurs when too much pressure is put on a specific nerve over a period of time. If a nerve is compressed then it has a poor blood supply that can cause a number of problems, including swelling. Fibrosis of the nerve will usually follow if the pressure is not released. There are a number of examples of nerve compression syndromes including carpal tunnel, sciatica and meralgia paresthetica. Treatment for a pinched nerve depends on the severity of the problem along with the symptoms shown.

When a nerve becomes compressed the lack of blood supply is known as ischemia. The pressure is usually on the root of the nerve or the peripheral nerve and over time this can lead to fibrosis. This happens when a larger amount of connective tissue develops in a certain area of the body than is required and can lead to additional problems.

If a patient is suspected of having a compressed nerve then there are several different ways a medical profession can check for this. Usually this is confirmed by testing the function of the nerve to see how well it is conducting signals. Nerve compression will often be immediately obvious when a conduction test is performed.

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Treating a pinched nerve usually begins with exercises and stretches along with other conservative methods to release pressure. If, however, there are significant problems developing from a pinched nerve then surgery may be required straight away. If the more conservative treatment methods fail to make a difference within a reasonable amount of time then this may also be cause for surgery.

One of the most common nerve compression syndromes is carpal tunnel. This occurs when a nerve in the wrist becomes compressed — often through overuse of a computer. Symptoms of the syndrome include numbness and tingling in the hand including a burning sensation which is often more pronounced at night. Treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome start with improving the way the person sits at a computer although in some severe cases surgery may be required.

There are a number of other nerve compression syndromes which are common. For example, cubital tunnel syndrome occurs when too much pressure is put on a nerve in the elbow and can cause pain in both the wrist and elbow. Radial tunnel syndrome occurs in a nerve in the proximal forearm and can cause pain on the lateral side of the elbow and forearm.

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Discuss this Article

Qohe1et
Post 3

@JavaGhoul

I think that it would be most helpful if a web database and a network of doctors were established for treatment in third world countries for issues such as nerve compression and other bodily issues.

JavaGhoul
Post 2

@Armas1313

If you are referring to Americans or Europeans, then yes, it is often relatively easy to find treatment. For most of the world, however, there is a not easy treatment for issues of this kind. Someone visiting from a poor area of the world would not find it comforting to hear that finding treatment is easy, because it is not.

Armas1313
Post 1

The nervous system is the way that we feel pain and pleasure in a physical sense. Compressed nerves can result in considerable pain for the body, in which the limits of our endurance are tested. Finding treatment for this pain, and especially for the damage that it can indicate, is important and usually not difficult.

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