What Is Nerve Compression Syndrome?

By kyle
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Nerve compression syndrome affects the peripheral nerves that extend out from the spinal cord to supply nerve signals to all the different parts of the body. It occurs because of pressure on the nerve. Any part of the nerve can become compressed, and symptoms are often localized to the area of compression. However, if the pressure occurs at the nerve roots, symptoms can radiate down the nerve to more distant areas of the body.

Nerve compression syndrome goes by many different terms. You may know it by its colloquial names, such as pinched or trapped nerve. Your doctor may refer to it in more technical terms, such as compression neuropathy or nerve entrapment syndrome. It can range in severity from mild to severe. Relieving the pressure can resolve the symptoms unless nerve damage has taken place.

1. Types

There are many different types of nerve compression syndrome depending on the area of the body where it occurs. In the upper extremity, the condition can affect the median, radial, and ulnar nerves in the hand. Compression of the ulnar nerve at the cubital tunnel causes symptoms that start at the elbow and may radiate down towards the hand. Rarely, nerve compression syndrome can occur in the shoulder due to pressure on the suprascapular nerve.

Sciatica is a common compression syndrome occurring in the lower extremity. Dividing into two branches at the pelvis, with one branch running down each leg, the sciatic nerve is the longest in the entire body. A less common compression syndrome affecting the lower extremity is meralgia paresthetica. This causes symptoms in the outer thigh due to compression of the lateral cutaneous nerve.

Nerve Compression Syndrome

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