What is nerve compression syndrome in the back?

Nerve compression syndrome in the spine occurs when one or more nerve roots that pass through the spinal column become compressed due to mechanical injuries or issues with the spine, such as herniated discs. These can put pressure on a nerve a cause pain and other symptoms.

This medical condition also goes by the following names:

  • Nerve impingement syndrome
  • Nerve entrapment
  • Pinched nerve
  • Cervical radiculopathy
  • Compression neuropathy
Compressed nerve roots

Where Can Nerve Compression Occur?

There are also other nerves that can become compressed, apart from those situated along the spine and peripheral nerves. Some of the most common nerves that can become trapped, are those situated along the arms. More specifically, they are:

  • The ulnar nerve, which runs down from your shoulder and then along the inner side of your arm, and branches down to your small and ring fingers in both arms.
  • The median nerve, which runs down from your shoulder, along the middle of your arm, and connects with your ring finger, middle finger, index finger, and thumb.
  • The radial nerve, which is wrapped around the upper and lower part of your arm bones in a soft S shape. The Nerve starts out in your shoulder and runs on the back of your upper arm, then around the elbow it curves down through the front part of your arm, connecting with the first four fingers of your hand.

Types of Nerve Compression

Some of the most common causes for nerve compression include:

  1. Mechanical injury, that can occur in any part of the body
  2. Nerve compression in the spine. This can be triggered by medical conditions that affect the spinal column, such as the wear and tear associated with aging, herniated discs, spinal stenosis and others.
  3. Compressed nerves in the arm, which is referred to as cubital tunnel syndrome. This condition affects the section where your upper arm joins your forearm.
  4. Nerve compression in the hands. This is most commonly known as carpal tunnel syndrome, which affects the hands and wrists.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms for trapped nerves that affect the upper part of the body can be similar, and include:

  • Pain that typically occurs in the upper part of the body, especially in the back, arms, hands, and fingers.
  • Weakness, numbness, tingling or loss of ability to control the muscles in any of the aforementioned areas.
upper back pain

Risk Factors

There are certain risk factors that can increase your chance to have a nerve become entrapped. Below are some of the most common causes that can lead to nerve entrapment:


A trapped nerve along the spine can sometimes be difficult to detect. For that reason, it is recommended to get a diagnosis from a medical professional to accurately pinpoint the cause of your symptoms.

Diagnosing a trapped nerve starts with a physical examination, where your doctor will examine the local area that has been affected to check for any visible deformity to the soft tissue or bones, tenderness of the area, and responsiveness of the nerve.

If a cause for concern is discovered during this initial examination, your doctor may recommend that you undergo further tests in order to rule out possible dangerous causes, such as nerve damage and tumours.

If you have already received your diagnosis and the cause of your symptoms has been named to be that of a trapped nerve, you can proceed to the treatment step.


Spinal Backrack Technology

Do you want to take your recovery from nerve entrapment in the back to the next level and live pain-free? The Spinal Backrack, a patented class I medical device, can help you free any nerves trapped along your back without causing any side effects. It has been carefully engineered by the brightest minds on Harley Street to give you the best possible comfort and results.

Its aim is to treat the underlying causes of your back pain. By following specific nerve gliding exercise programs using the Backrack, you can free your entrapped nerves, restore mobility to the affected area and leave your symptoms in the past!


There is a range of surgical treatments as well as nonsurgical treatments available for this condition, depending on the location of its occurrence. Any surgical options should only be considered as a last resort, as they can sometimes cause more problems than they solve.

With that being said, these are the nonsurgical treatment options that you can consider:

  • Losing weight. Carrying extra weight can put additional strain on your spine, increasing your chances to develop a trapped nerve. Removing that extra weight through weight loss may help you free your entrapped nerve.
  • Improve your posture. Working on your posture can help align your spine in the correct upright position, allowing the trapped nerve to be released.
  • Strengthen your core muscles. Having poor posture and weak core muscles oftentimes go hand in hand. You may find that by strengthening your core muscles, your back pain improves, and your trapped nerve is gradually freed.
  • This is a great way to release tension from your back and allow your spine to elongate and remove any stiffness.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication, which offers temporary relief from pain and inflammation, but does not actually treat the underlying causes of your symptoms.
  • Steroid injections, which also reduce swelling and relieve pain only temporarily. They are typically administered only if milder forms of anti-inflammatory medication have failed to produce the desired effects.
  • Physiotherapy that focuses on spinal decompression, which is a natural and efficient method to treat trapped nerves in the back.
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