Clinics in Bedford
Open Mon-Fri 9-5pm

Trapped Nerve in Back

Trapped Nerve in Back: Causes, Symptoms, and Effective Relief Methods

Having a nerve in your back become pinched must be really painful. The discomfort of constant pain, limbs fallen asleep, and restricted movement may ruin anyone’s day. But don’t worry; we’ve got you covered!

In this article, we will examine what a pinched nerve is, from its causes and risk factors to the best treatments available. We’ll begin by explaining what can go wrong to trigger a pinched nerve. The causes of your back pain, such as a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or even a muscle imbalance, will be identified and treated. The duration of back pain caused by a pinched nerve will be discussed, along with the reasons why some people get relief after a few weeks while others suffer for months. We provide a wide variety of options for you to try, from physical therapy and acupuncture to heat and cold therapy.

So, sit back, relax, and let’s explore the realm of imprisoned nerves in the back together if you’re sick of feeling like your back is keeping you captive.

How do I release a trapped nerve in my back?

Whether you are a workaholic or a relaxed person, a pinched nerve can be really distressing. In order to free nerves trapped in your back, you will need to take a multipronged approach that tries to reduce inflammation, release pressure on the nerve root, and encourage the healing. Try your hand at one or more of these methods to relieve the pinched nerve.

Heat and cold therapy

You can reduce pain and swelling by applying a hot or cold compress to the nerves. After applying a cold pack for the first 48 hours, switching to a warm compress or heating pad can help relieve muscle tension, increase blood flow, and cure most pinched nerves.

Stretching and exercise

Light exercise can reduce nerve compression and improve mobility. Get in touch with a chiropractor to learn some targeted exercises. They help you maintain a healthy weight, as excess weight is one of the major risk factors.

Pain medication

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like naproxen and ibuprofen are available without a prescription and can help alleviate pain and inflammation. However, it is crucial to take the medication as prescribed or use a nerve information page and see a doctor if the pain feels like needles sensations.

Massage therapy

Massaging the area on a regular basis has been shown to reduce muscular tension and increase blood flow to pinched nerve roots, both of which may help relieve the discomfort associated with a pinched nerve. Find a registered massage therapist that specializes in treating back issues.

Posture correction

Good posture is essential for avoiding and treating pinched nerves. Keep your back in a neutral position, and avoid sitting or standing for too. A pinched nerve usually occurs when you move suddenly after being static for a prolonged period. Besides, interruption in blood flow can also give rise to a pinched nerve.

What does a trapped nerve feel like in your back?

When a nerve in your back is pinched or compressed, it can give rise to a wide variety of uncomfortable sensations and symptoms. The particular symptoms may change based on the compressed nerve’s location and degree of severity. These are some of the most common symptoms of a pinched nerve in the back:


A trapped or pinched nerve typically causes pain, which can range from dull aching to a shooting sensation. Pain can spread down an arm or leg if a nerve there is irritated. However, the degree of spread varies from person to person.

Numbness or tingling

Numbness or tingling could develop wherever that pinched nerve occurs. This can feel like “pins and needles,” causing pain or a complete lack of feeling. Remember that it is one of the earliest manifestations of a pinched nerve.

Muscle weakness

Muscle weakness caused by a pinched nerve can make it difficult to move or do tasks that normally demand strength. Excessive weight can compress nerves and cause tight muscles with ‘pins and needles’ like sensations.

Burning or electric shock-like sensations

Some people report a burning or electric-shock-like sensation in the place where the pinched nerve is located. Awareness of these symptoms is important because if the pinched nerve remains unnoticed or undiagnosed for long periods, it may lead to complicated health problems.

How long can a trapped nerve in the back last?

When a nerve in the back becomes pinched, its symptoms might last anywhere from a few days to several months. Some people may feel better within a few days or weeks, while others may have to deal with their symptoms for months. The severity and the length of a trapped nerve can be affected by a number of variables, including:

Severity of compression

The duration of symptoms is related to the degree of nerve compression. It may take less time for mild nerve compression cases to heal than severe or chronic spinal nerve compression. Severe compression may also result in permanent damage to the nerve tract.

Prompt treatment

Symptoms caused by pinched nerves can be reduced or eliminated if caught and treated early on. If symptoms persist and you think you have a damaged nerve pathway, you should immediately see a doctor. Prompt treatment significantly reduces the risk of complicated health problems arising over time.

Underlying causes

Long-term relief can only be achieved by determining the root source of the trapped nerve and addressing other risk factors. The severity and length of nerve compression symptoms in spinal cord problems can be affected by factors such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and muscle imbalances.

Individual factors

When it comes to injuries and recovery, everyone’s body is unique. The severity of a trapped nerve and how long it lasts can be affected by age, general health, and lifestyle choices. Healthy lifestyle choices can drastically reduce the risk of such conditions in all individuals. Thus, avoiding a sedentary lifestyle and maintaining good hygiene is of great importance.

How painful is a trapped nerve in your back?

Back discomfort from a pinched nerve can range from mild to excruciating. While some people with pinched nerve may only feel slightly annoyed, others may be in excruciating pain. Several factors contribute to the intensity of pain, including:

Location of nerve compression

Pain can be altered by both the type of nerve that is pinched and its closeness to other nearby nerve surrounding tissuess too. For instance, the intense pain of sciatica, chronic pain caused by compression of the sciatic nerve, can radiate down the leg.

Duration of compression

Compression of a nerve for an extended period of time can cause swelling and a heightened awareness of pain. As a result, trapped nerves that have been there for a while can potentially create a great deal of discomfort.

Individual pain threshold

Since people have various pain thresholds, they may react to and understand pain in different ways. What causes excruciating discomfort for one person may be bearable for another. Make sure that you assess the degree of the pain you experience on a recommended scale and get in touch with your doctor if it disrupts your normal routine.

Additional symptoms

In addition to the pain, other symptoms such as tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness may be present and add to your distress. However, these symptoms and their intensity may vary from person to person.

How can I untrap a trapped nerve?

It takes time and a number of well-planned interventions to free a pinched nerve in your back. Here are several tried-and-true approaches to releasing a pinched nerve:

Modifying activities and taking breaks

Taking a break from activities that may worsen your back or cause neck pain is recommended. Pressure on the nerve can be relieved, and healing facilitated by refraining from vigorous exercise or heavy lifting.


With the help of a trained physical therapist, you can perform area-specific exercises and stretches. Physical therapy aims to reduce inflammation, increase mobility, and fortify supporting muscles to release pressure on nerves.

Spinal manipulations

Adjustments to the cervical spine and other joints are what chiropractors do to free up space for pinched or compressed nerves. In order to improve function and relieve pressure on the trapped nerve, a trained chiropractor can conduct adjustments and manipulations.


Acupuncture is an ancient treatment that involves inserting very thin needles into the body at strategic areas to promote healing and alleviate pain. Some people who suffer from trapped nerves have found relief with acupuncture.

Epidural steroid injections

Epidural injection into the afflicted area may be necessary in severe cases of nerve compression. It is a convenient non surgical treatment that helps reduce swelling in the affected area, thus relieving nerve pain there. Moreover, these injections facilitate nerve repair.


When less invasive methods have been exhausted, the symptoms worsen, and the patient continues to suffer, surgical intervention may be considered to address extreme nerve pain. Cervical radiculopathy, carpal tunnel syndrome, and spinal cord damage require such interventions. The herniated disk or other compression source is surgically removed in an effort to free the trapped or pinched nerve.

Is a trapped nerve serious?

An extremely painful condition, a trapped nerve in the back is usually not life-threatening. However, the severity and long-term effects of a trapped nerve are conditional. Trapped or pinched nerve pain can range in severity, so finding out what caused them is crucial. For example, herniated discs, carpal tunnel syndrome, and spinal stenosis may call for more intensive forms of treatment. Seek medical assistance if the symptoms last for more than a few days.

Compressing a nerve for too long might cause serious problems. Symptoms of a pinched nerve worsen when nearby nerves are involved leading to neurological disorders, burning pain, poor posture, sciatic pain, and perhaps permanent nerve damage. Repetitive motions, incontinence, burning sensations, and other similar symptoms could be warning signs of a more serious illness, such as multiple pinched nerves, cervical radiculopathy, lumbar radiculopathy, carpal tunnel syndrome, bone spurs, herniated disk, and damage to surrounding tissues.

Medical care, including a detailed physical examination, imaging tests, and pain relievers, must be sought immediately in such a situation to assess damage to surrounding tissue (soft tissues). When the trapped nerve causes severe impairment in everyday functioning or ongoing severe pain, you should visit the doctor’s office immediately.

A proper diagnosis and assessment of the severity of a trapped nerve in the back for surgical treatment need the expertise of orthopaedic surgeons. They’ll be able to steer you in the right direction, suggest immediate treatments such as electrical impulses, rule out the risk of a herniated disk, bone spurs, or permanent nerve root damage, and keep tabs on your progress.

The Bottom Line

A pinched nerve in the back can be a frustrating and painful experience. However, alleviation of low back pain is attainable with the correct strategy and a combination of therapy modalities. You may take charge of your pain relief, mobility, and recovery by learning about the conditions’ root causes, symptoms, expected duration of, and available treatment options. Always seek the advice of a medical expert for a proper diagnosis and tailored treatment program. You can recover from a trapped nerve in your back, relieve pain, and get your life back with time, patience, and medical attention.

Read more: