What are the symptoms of a pinched nerve?

Symptoms of a pinched nerve depend upon the location, but typically involve alterations in sensation such a pain or numbness and may involve weakness.

Common symptoms of a pinched nerve

Common pinched nerve symptoms are typically localized to one area, which can be large, radiating down the entire leg or arm, or small, depending upon where the nerve is compressed. Symptoms may include:

  • Body aches
  • Burning feeling
  • Change in symptoms based on body position
  • Fecal incontinence (inability to control stools)
  • Impaired balance and coordination
  • Muscle wasting
  • Numbness or tingling in arms or legs
  • Pain
  • Urinary incontinence (inability to control urination)
  • Weakness (loss of strength)

Symptoms that might indicate a serious condition

Pinched nerves can have permanent complications. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have symptoms of a pinched nerve associated with any of these symptoms:

  • Absent or diminished pulse
  • Fecal incontinence (inability to control stools)
  • Impaired balance and coordination
  • Prolonged numbness or tingling that don't improve with rest
  • Severe pain
  • Urinary incontinence (inability to control urination)


What is a pinched nerve?

A pinched nerve is an injury to a nerve or group of nerves resulting from compression, entrapment or stretching. Numbness, tingling, burning or pain can result. In some cases, muscle weakness can also occur. Symptoms of a pinched nerve may develop gradually or can come on suddenly.

Nerves can be compressed as... Read more about pinched nerveintroduction


What causes a pinched nerve?

Anything that compresses, entraps or stretches a nerve or group of nerves can cause a pinched nerve. This can include pressure on a nerve from a bulging or herniated disc in the back, broken bones or bone spurs, or inflammation or swelling of nearby structures. Certain body positions can stretch nerves or put pressure on them. Cystic growths or tumors can also press on nerves.

... Read more about pinched nervecauses


How is a pinched nerve treated?

Treatment of a pinched nerve often begins with rest and use of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, if needed. When these actions fail to improve your symptoms, splinting, steroid injections, and physical therapy might be helpful. In some circumstances, surgery may be needed to treat nerve entrapment or compression.

Common treatments of a pinched nerve

Common... Read more about pinched nervetreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 20, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Brain and Nerves