Pinched Nerve in Arm- Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

A pinched nerve happens when too much pressure is accidentally placed against a nerve by bones, muscles, tendons or cartilage. It can start at several points in your body, usually in the joints. Basically, when a pinched nerve is in your elbow, it’s called “ulnar nerve entrapment.” It has the capability to leave your hand and arm feeling sore, numb, or weak. Nerves extend from your brain and spinal cord, sending you important messages throughout your body. If you have any pinched nerve, your body might send you warning signals such as some kind of pain. Please don’t ignore these warning signals. Damage from any pinched nerve in arm can be minor or severe. It might cause temporary or long-lasting problems. The earlier you get a diagnosis and treatment for your nerve compression, the more quickly you would find relief. In some cases, you might not be able to reverse the damage from a pinched nerve. But treatment usually relieves pain and other symptoms.

Causes of Pinched Nerve in Arm

  • A pinched nerve tends to occur when there is some kind of “compression” (pressure) on a nerve. The pressure might be the result of repetitive motions. Or it might happen from holding your body continuously in one position for long periods, such as keeping elbows bent while sleeping.
  • Nerves happen to be most vulnerable to places in your body where they just travel through the narrow spaces but have some little soft tissue to protect them. Nerve compression usually occurs when the nerve is pressed between tissues such a Ligament, Tendon, and Bone.
  • For instance, inflammation or any kind of pressure on a nerve root exiting the spine might cause low back pain or neck pain. It might also start to radiate from the neck into your shoulder and arm. Or pain might even radiate into the leg and foot too.
  • These symptoms might result from changes that develop in your spine’s discs and bones. For example, if a disc weakens or in case, tears, pressure can get heavily put on a spinal nerve. Nerve compression in your neck or arm can also cause symptoms in areas such as your elbow, hand, wrist, and fingers.
  • This can lead to conditions such as Peripheral Neuropathy and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. If nerve compression lasts any long time, a protective barrier around your nerve might break down. Fluid might build up, which can cause Swelling, Extra pressure and Scarring. The scarring might interfere with the nerve’s function too.

Symptoms of Pinched Nerve in Arm-

With the nerve compression, sometimes pain might be your only symptom. you can also have other symptoms without the pain.

Well, the aforementioned are some common symptoms of the compressed nerves:

  • Pain in the area of compressions, such as low back or neck
  • Radiating pain, such as radicular pain
  • Tingling or numbness
  • “Pins and needles” or some burning sensation
  • Weakness in certain activities

Sometimes symptoms worsen can when you try certain movements, such as turning your head or even straining your neck.

Treatment for Pinched Nerve in Arm

How long it might take for symptoms to end can vary from person to person. Treatment varies, depending on the severity and cause of your nerve compression.

You might find that you benefit greatly from just simply resting the injured area and by avoiding any of the activities that tend to worsen your symptoms. In many cases, that’s just all you need to do.

If symptoms tend to persist or pain is severe, make sure that you see a doctor. You might need one or more types of treatment to shrink swollen tissue around the nerve.

In more severe cases, it might be necessary to remove material that’s probably pressing on a nerve, such as Scar tissue, Disc material and Pieces of bone.

Treatments may include:

NSAIDs- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, aspirin or naproxen can reduce swelling.

Oral corticosteroids- These are used for reducing swelling and pain.

Narcotics- These are used for brief periods to reduce severe pain.

Steroid injections- These injections might reduce swelling and allow the inflamed nerves to recover.

Physical Therapy- This would help you stretch and strengthen your muscles.

Splint- A splint or soft collar limits the motion of your body and allows the muscles to rest for brief periods.

Surgery- Surgery might be needed for more severe problems that don’t respond to other types of treatment.

you must sit with your doctor and know the best approach for treating your symptoms.

When Do I Call a Doctor?

If a pinched nerve in your elbow goes untreated for a long time, then there could be permanent damage. The muscles controlled by the nerve might begin to get smaller and shorter. This is called muscle wasting, and it cannot always be reversed. To avoid this problem, please see a doctor quickly if you start to have any kind of severe pain, weakness, or tingling in your arm or hand. Even if your discomfort doesn’t feel much serious, just call your doctor once, if it’s been with you for at least 6 weeks or so.

Diagnosis and Tests

Well, to get a proper diagnosis of the pinched nerve, you should see an orthopedist. Also, ensure that you find someone who specializes in elbows and wrists.

Pinched Nerve Facts

  • Nerves carry various electrical signals from our brain to the body and vice-versa.
  • A pinched nerve could cause symptoms like numbness, pain, tingling, or weakness along the path of that pinched nerve.
  • Most people happen to improve from a pinched nerve with ice, rest, medication, or physical therapy.
  • Weakness or wasting of the muscles from some pinched nerve can suggest permanent nerve injury

Pinched Nerve Prognosis

In most cases, individuals with a pinched nerve in the arm are able to recover completely without any kind of long-lasting symptoms. Most patients would respond well to conservative treatments.

But surgical operations are typically only recommended for people who do not show any improvements with the conservative treatment or if they have any worsening muscle weakness. The longer a patient tends to have symptoms of a pinched nerve, and the worse the symptoms become, the less chance there is for a full recovery of the patient. Pain, tingling and numbness usually recover completely with treatment. But if a person develops weakness or wasting of the muscles he or she must refer a doctor as soon as possible to prevent any permanent nerve damage.

Home Remedies for Pinched Nerve in Arm

1. Try and Adjust your posture

You might need to change how you’re sitting or standing to relieve the pain from a pinched nerve. Find any position that helps you feel better, and spend in that position as long as you can.

2. Make use of a standing workstation

Standing workstations are gaining popularity and for definite good reasons. Mobility and standing throughout your day prove to be crucial to preventing and treating a pinched nerve.

If you have a pinched nerve or want to avoid one for sure, then talk with your human resources department about modifying your desk to the one where you can stand while working. if, by chance, you can’t get a standing workstation, make sure that you get up and take a walk each hour.

Even Rollerballs for tight muscles and an hourly stretching program are great ideas if you use a keyboard frequently.

3. Rest

No matter where you had a pinched nerve, the best thing is generally to rest as long as possible. Avoid any kind of activity that is causing you pain, such as golf, cooking or even texting.

Rest until the above mentioned symptoms have completely subsided. When you do start moving that part of your body again for a change, pay attention to how it feels. Stop the specific activity if your pain returns.

4. Splint

If you, by chance, have carpal tunnel, which is a pinched nerve in your wrist, a splint could help you rest and protect your wrist. This could be especially helpful overnight so that you do not curl your wrist in a bad position while you’re sleeping.

5. Stretch

Gentle stretches could help you relieve the pressure on your nerve and improve your symptoms. Don’t go too deeply into any stretch. If you begin to feel the pain or discomfort, ease up on the stretch. Remember that the small movements can have a big impact.

6. Apply heat

You can use heat to relax your muscles that might be tight around a pinched nerve. Heat also increases the blood flow, which could help in the healing process. You can find also heating pads in various sizes at a drugstore. Just hold the heat directly onto the pinched nerve for 10–15 minutes at a time.

7. Use ice

Ice has been proven over the years to reduce swelling and inflammation. Just wrap a towel around an ice pack and hold it directly onto the pinched nerve for some 10–15 minutes.

8. Elevate your legs

For a pinched nerve in your lower back, try to elevate your legs with a 90-degree bend in both your hips and knees.

So, this was all you need to know about pinched nerves. Hope you are cautious and take preventive measure regarding it.


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Kabbyashree Dasgupta

An untamed perfectionist of imperfection. Writing is not only my hobby but an inculcated passion, which transports me into a different world altogether. As a part-time freelancer, I love writing articles and imparting knowledge, on my journey of learning a little bit more, each day.

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