Saturday, March 29, 2008

Pains and Sensations: Pinched !

"Everything and everywhere hurts,but my conscience.....".

A Pinched nerve
is the term for pain or impaired function of a nerve that is under pressure. It happens to nerves that control muscle movements or relay sensations to the brain.
The initial symptoms of a pinched nerve may be tingling, numbness, burning sensation or shooting pains down the buttocks and legs or in the neck, shoulders, arms and fingers.

Sometimes the pains and sensations are distant from the point of pressure. For instance, a pinched nerve in the low back may cause pain in the calf as the only symptom. When there is nerve damage from constant pressure, pain and weakness may increase. There may be a loss of reflexes, movement skills, sensation in the affected area, and withering (atrophy) of the affected muscles can occur.Nerves are extensions from the brain that reach out into the arms or legs to go to the muscles or skin. A nerve is a cell that is microscopic in size, and fibers may run several feet in length toward its destination. A nerve cell that lives in the brain or within the spinal cord is called a central nerve, and a nerve that leaves the spine to go into the arms or legs are called peripheral nerves. These peripheral nerves are actually bundles of millions of nerve fibers that leave the spinal cord and branch to their target muscles to make them move or go to the skin to provide feeling.

If a nerve gets "pinched" the flow up and down the inside of the hose is reduced or blocked and the nutrients stop flowing. Eventually the membrane starts to loose its healthy ability to transmit the tiny electrical charges and the nerve fiber may eventually die. When enough fibers stop working, the skin may feel numbness or a muscle may not contract.Common causes of pinched nerves in the spine include herniated discs, bulging discs or degenerative disc disease. Other causes include compression of a nerve at the elbow or wrist, a prolonged cramped
posture, arthritis, bone spurs, job injury or a tumor.

A nerve can be pinched as it leaves the neck or the back by a herniated disc or by bone spurs that form from spinal arthritis.
When one has a pinched nerve in the low back, pain is usually perceived as radiating down the leg. When one has a pinched nerve in the neck, pain emanates from the neck, through the shoulders, down the arms and into the hands.

Muscle spasms in the back commonly accompany pinched nerves and can cause weakness in the arm or leg. The two most common pinched nerves in the lower back are L5 (lumbar 5) and S1 (sacral 1).
Pinched nerves at L3, L4 and L5 - The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. It starts in the low back at lumbar segment 3 (L3). The sciatic nerve roots run through the bony canal, and at each level in the lower back a pair of nerve roots exits from the spine. The nerve is named for the upper vertebral body that it runs between (for example, the nerve that exits at L4-L5 is named L4). The nerve passing to the next level runs over a weak spot in the disc space, which is the reason discs tend to herniate (extrude) right under the sciatic nerve root and can cause sciatica. The sciatica symptoms (low back pain, leg pain, numbness, tingling, weakness) are different depending on where the pressure on the nerve occurs. For example, a lumbar segment 5 (L5) nerve impingement can cause weakness in extension of the big toe and potentially in the ankle (foot drop). from the web

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