Compressed Nerve in Back or Neck – Symptoms, Risk Factors and Treatment

A “trapped nerve” is a condition when enhanced pressure causes the damage or irritation of a peripheral nerve. It results in uncomfortable sensations, pain, and numbness in the affected region of the back, neck, or shoulders.

Risk Factors for a Compressed Nerve

Any factors which cause aggravated pressure around the cervical region can cause a compressed nerve. Common reasons include body positions for example wrong way of crossing legs habitually, leaning frequently on elbows and other poor postures. With the passage of time, it leads to pressure injuries and damage to nerves in these body parts.

Disc Herniation

It is a condition in which the inner jelly-like the material of intervertebral discs comes out of the outer ring. A herniated disc causes pressure on the nerve roots which result in nerve pain or discomfort.

Obesity or Water Retention

Both conditions lead to the exertion of extra pressure to the vertebral column and risk of the compressed nerve is increased. Thyroid disease specifically hypothyroidism leads to both obesity and water retention and such people are more prone to develop compressed nerve condition.

Repetitive Activities

Repetitive activities such as frequent use of cellular phone, typing, and use of certain tools also cause inflammation around certain nerves and result in the symptoms of compressed nerves.

Symptoms of Compressed Nerve

There may be many signs and symptoms you may experience in your body. Common symptoms are:


It is a type of pain which happens due to the compression of the sciatic nerve. Pain is felt in the lower back radiating to saddle area and one or both legs. You may also feel numbness and tingling sensations in these areas.

Muscle Spasm and Loss of Reflexes

Muscle spasm and reflexes loss can also be experienced if a nerve is pinched. Loss of reflexes happens because when the nerve is being compressed, its function is lost usually.

Sharp Pain

It is a common occurrence to feel a sharp pain in the affected region of the back, arms, legs, and feet if you have a compressed nerve. Sometimes the pain is mild to moderate but sometimes pain is so severe that it cannot be tolerated.


Since with the compression of the nerve, the nerve function is also lost, weakness is also felt in the area of distribution of the nerve.

Causes of Compressed Nerve in the Lower Back

Here we’ll describe some of the common causes of a compressed nerve in the lower back:

  • Trauma or injury for example from a fall
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Mechanical stretching
  • Bony spur formation
  • Osteophytes
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Foramen stenosis
  • Disc degeneration
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Herniated disc
  • Bulging of disc


Your doctor can make a final diagnosis of your compressed nerve condition by taking a proper history and performing a good general physical examination. If compulsory, your doctor may suggest you some diagnostic tests which include X-Ray, CT Scan, and MRI to know the underlying pathology of the vertebral column.

Non-Drug Treatment

Please visit our home page to find details about drug-free treatment of compressed nerve.

Home Remedies

You should also make some lifestyle modifications to lessen the symptoms of a compressed nerve. Some of the remedies are:


There are some seated positions and activities that cause twisting of your back and thus your compressed nerve condition worsens. You must need the best rest for two or three days and abandoning of activities to lessen your symptoms.

Ice and Heat Therapy

It is a very useful measure to reduce your symptoms. You can apply hot or cold fomentation for twenty minutes. Heat causes enhancement of blood flow to the affected region and thus you feel relieved in your pain. Cold therapy causes a reduction in your symptoms and thus a reduction in your symptoms. You can use a hot water bottle as a hot compressor and a piece of ice wrapped in a towel as a hot compressor. Remember do not apply hot or cold compressor directly to the skin otherwise it will damage your skin.

Gentle Movement

If you take regular exercise, it will help avoidance of onset of nerve pain and lessen your symptoms.

Sleeping Position Alteration

If you are habitual of sleeping in poor posture, it will trigger your nerve pain. Better to sleep on your side keeping a pillow between both of your legs. Try to avoid on your stomach.