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Pinched Nerve – what exactly does that mean?

Pinched Nerve
A pinched nerve occurs when too much pressure is applied for too long to a nerve by surrounding tissues. Tissues that can cause the pressure can be bones, cartilage, muscles, tendons, ligaments, spinal discs or (rarely) tumor. The most common reasons for the direct physical pressure are as a result of the changes occurring with degenerative joint disease or degenerative disc disease. Nerve pain resulting from direct physical pressure is called an entrapment neuropathy because the nerve is trapped or pinched by some structure. This term helps to distinguish them from neuropathies resulting from infection or disease.

A good example of this concept is when you “bump your funny bone” (which is actually the ulnar nerve). This physical pressure disrupts the nerve’s function causing pain, tingling, numbness or weakness. Too much pressure applied for too long to a nerve along the spine results in much the same sensations.

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