Pinched Nerve in Neck Causes

To better understand causes of a pinched nerve in the neck, conditions of the cervical spine should be examined. As it leaves the spine, a nerve can be affected by an unwanted condition such as a neck bone spur (osteophytes) or a bulging, or herniated neck disc compressing the nerve. Carpal tunnel syndrome is another example of pinched nerves, although this is due to nerve compression in the wrist rather than the spine. If a nerve is compressed in the neck then symptoms are still likely to be felt in the peripheral limbs as signals are prevented from being transmitted and received throughout the length of that nerve. Calcification of the soft tissues surrounding the spine can reduce the foramina through which the nerves pass and lead to compression on the nerve fibers. Acute or chronic neck pain may be the result of this nerve impingement.

Pinched Nerve in Neck Causes by Injury

Damage and inflammation due to injury, through trauma, contact sports, whiplash, or infection can also cause pinched nerves and loss of function and sensation. If a cervical disc slips out of place in the neck then this can lead to pinched nerves, as can spinal stenosis, disc degeneration and bony growths from neck conditions like cervical arthritis.

Short Term and Long Term Nerve Compression

Short-term nerve compression, provided it is not severe, rarely causes permanent nerve damage, although symptoms may take a long time to recover from. Long-term, persistent, or severe compression can result in permanent dysfunction of the nerve; surgical decompression is indicated in these circumstances. Nerves can also be overstretched if having to accommodate a herniated disc or bony growth. The symptoms will be the same as for pinched nerves, with transmission problems. Damage to the myelin (insulation) around the nerves may mean faulty signal transmission occurs.

As previously mentioned, pinched nerve in neck causes are typically brought on by spinal conditions although in some cases they can be mistaken for pinched nerve in the shoulder so it's best to make an appointment with a licensed medical practioner to receive a proper examination.

Last Updated: 10/09/2011