7 Signs You May Have a Pinched Nerve

A pinched nerve, or radiculopathy, is caused by a disc or bone in the spine that presses on a nerve root coming out of the spinal cord. This compression can be painful, cause numbness, or weakness in an arm or leg. Let’s look at 7 signs you may have a pinched nerve.

Pain Moving Down Your Arm

If you get a pain that runs down your arm, it is likely from a compressed nerve in your neck area or cervical spine. It will affect everything along the nerve pathway like your shoulders, arm, upper back, and even your hands.

Pain Down the Back of Your LegWoman with pinched nerve symptoms in arm.

This is a very common type of pinched nerve. When the sciatic nerve gets compressed in the lumbar region of the spine or lower back, you will have burning and pain through your lower back, butt, and down your leg.

Poor Grip Strength

Sometimes when the nerves in your cervical spine or neck are compressed, it interferes with messages from your brain to the muscles in the hand. This results in poor strength in your hand, trouble writing, weakness, and inability to do minor tasks.

Pins and Needles

We have all had this occur somewhere in our body. This numbness happens when a nerve is pinched, irritated, or compressed. Known as paresthesia, it is a common sign of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Weak Legs

If your sciatic nerve or other nerves in your legs are disrupted, it can result in weak legs and even difficulty walking.

Bowel or Bladder Incontinence

This may seem unexpected, but while the nerves in your legs help you move both legs and feet, they also affect your bladder and bowels. A severely compressed nerve in your lower back can cause leakage and the inability to control your bowels or bladder.


When a nerve is compressed, there is no communication between your brain and those areas affected. The area becomes numb meaning there is no feeling or sensation. It is similar to waking up having slept on your arm, and it is now numb.

How to Prevent Pinched Nerves

There are some precautions to help prevent the pain and other symptoms from pinched nerves.

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Do stretches that keep your muscles flexible.
  • Don’t sit in the same position too long or cross your legs for long periods of time. This can cause a compressed nerve in your leg.
  • Take breaks from repetitive motions like typing.

How Are Pinched Nerves Treated?

If you develop a pinched nerve, time and rest will help as will ice and heat. Use over-the-counter pain relief, wear a cervical collar or a splint, and take prescription corticosteroids.

Physical therapy is recommended, but surgery is a last resort.

Contact Spine & Scoliosis Specialists at 336.333.6306 for an appointment in High Point and Greensboro, NC if pain or numbness from a pinched nerve is not relieved with OTC medications or the application of ice and heat.