Pinched Nerve Symptoms, Locations And Treatments


If you have suffered from back or neck pain, you know just how debilitating the pain can be. There are many types of conditions that can cause this type of pain to occur. One common cause is a pinched nerve, which is characterized by a burning or numbing sensation. The following is an overview of the symptoms this condition can cause and how to treat it.

What Causes Pinched Nerves?

While any nerve in the body is susceptible to pain, the peripheral nerves in the neck and back are most often affected. Symptoms can occur when irritation leads to compression of these nerves, causing pain. this can be caused from an injury, repetitive motions or unusual sleeping positions. People who are overweight or have poor posture may also be at risk of developing nerve related pain. It is important never to ignore this type of pain. Obtaining an accurate diagnosis is key to relieving neck and back pain.

What Are The Symptoms?

The most common complaint among those with pinched nerve pain is a numbness or tingling sensation. If the affected nerve is in the cervical spine or neck, the pain may radiate down the arms. Nerves affected in the lower back can cause a burning or numbness to radiate down the legs. In both areas this type of sensation can radiate down one side or both simultaneously.

How Is This Condition Diagnosed?

Before examining you for signs of this condition, your doctor will take a detailed report of your medical history. Be sure to tell him the date of symptom onset, injuries that may have occurred and if you have any pre-existing medical conditions. Any information you can provide is helpful in reaching a diagnosis. After taking a medical history, your doctor will examine you. He will test your reflexes and strength in your extremities and order any tests he deems necessary. Doctors often order a test called an electromyography or EMG to aid in diagnosing this type of pain. This test will provide help determine if any nerve damage is present. In addition to an EMG, your doctor may order a CT scan or MRI. These diagnostic imaging tests will provide an accurate picture of the spine, which aids in diagnosing your condition.

How Is It Treated?

The treatment for this condition depends largely upon the location and severity of symptoms. Rest is often the first thing doctors recommend because many of these cases are caused by repetitive motions. Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen may be helpful in reducing pain. Stronger pain medications may be prescribed by your doctor if he deems it necessary. Corticosteroids may also be prescribed to reduce inflammation surrounding the painful area.

Physical therapy may also be prescribed if severe or prolonged pain is an issue. If pain is persistent after all other forms of treatment have been exhausted, your doctor may recommend surgery to relieve the pressure being placed on the affected nerve.

How Can I Prevent It?

You can take steps to prevent pinched nerves or relapses after diagnosis. Keeping good posture is one important part of preventing back and neck pain. You may also need to modify the way you perform certain activities, since these conditions are commonly seen with repetitive motion. Regular exercise can help you maintain a normal body weight, which is important in reducing pressure placed on the peripheral nerves in the neck and back. If you begin to experience a burning sensation or tingling pain, see your doctor as soon as possible. Prompt diagnosis and treatment is key to keeping this condition from worsening over time.


In this instance, an athlete was originally diagnosed with minor quadriceps muscle strain and was treated for four weeks, with unsatisfactory results. When he came to our clinic, the muscle was not healing, and the patients’ muscle tissue had already begun to atrophy.

Upon examination using MSUS, we discovered that he had a full muscle thickness tear that had been overlooked by his previous provider. To mitigate damage and promote healing, surgery should have been performed immediately after the injury occurred. Because of misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment, the patient now has permanent damage that cannot be corrected.

The most important advantage of Ultrasound over MRI imaging is its ability to zero in on the symptomatic region and obtain imaging, with active participation and feedback from the patient. Using dynamic MSUS, we can see what happens when patients contract their muscles, something that cannot be done with MRI. From a diagnostic perspective, this interaction is invaluable.

Dynamic ultrasonography examination demonstrating
the full thickness tear and already occurring muscle atrophy
due to misdiagnosis and not referring the patient
to proper diagnostic workup

Demonstration of how very small muscle defect is made and revealed
to be a complete tear with muscle contraction
under diagnostic sonography (not possible with MRI)


Complete tear of rectus femoris
with large hematoma (blood)


Separation of muscle ends due to tear elicited
on dynamic sonography examination

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