Trapped Nerves

Trapped Nerve Treatment

A trapped or pinched nerve is a common complaint that presents with a variety of symptoms. Whether you are experiencing pain, numbness or tingling, and you suspect a trapped nerve, our practitioners in Leeds and Manchester are here to get to the root of your pain and provide effective trapped nerve treatment.

Nerves Carry Messages to the Brain

Nerves are found all throughout your body. They go from the brain and spinal cord and then out to the arms, legs, fingers, toes, and more. Did you know that nerves from the spine that go to your arms and legs are called peripheral nerves? These nerves contain billions of nerve fibres, and allow your muscles to function, skin to feel, and more.

Nerves carry messages from all parts of your body and back to the brain. You might think of a nerve as something like a very thin fibre optic cable, which is encased in an outer covering called a sheath. When a fibre optic cable is compressed, what happens? The light in the cable is stopped—it can’t move past the areas that are pinched.

The same happens with a nerve—when it’s compressed, the electrical signals it carries are stopped and are unable to travel to the brain. The more nerves that are compressed, the more messages are not carried, leading to the symptoms of a trapped nerve.

What Is A Trapped Nerve?

A trapped nerve, also known as a pinched nerve, is a nerve that is being compressed (pinched/trapped) by tissues in that area. When a nerve is compressed in this way, it’s not able to carry messages to the brain. The signals are disrupted, which leads to the symptoms you may be experiencing.

Trapped or pinched nerves can happen in various areas of the body. This is because nerves at some points in the body travel through very narrow spaces, and there isn’t much surrounding tissue to protect them.

Examples of pinched nerves include a herniated disk in the back, which can put pressure on a nerve root that causes pain to radiate down the sciatic nerve. Another example is if you have a pinched nerve in your wrist (known as carpal tunnel syndrome), which can cause pain and numbness in your hands and fingers.

Common Symptoms

If you are suffering from a trapped nerve, you are likely to be experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Acute pain
  • Feelings of electric shock or shooting pains
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Wasting of muscles
  • Pain down the left side (could indicate sciatica)


Your symptoms may improve on their own, only to return again when a specific action causes the nerve to be compressed again. Many people may also have continuous pain, weakness, and more. And it’s common for the pain from a trapped nerve to be worse at night when you’re trying to sleep.

What Causes Trapped Nerves?

A pinched nerve is caused by an injury. It’s possible the injury may not originally involve the nerve, but that swelling or tissue damage from the injury can lead to nerve compression.
Trapped nerves can also be caused by repetitive motions, or from staying in a certain position for too long. Nerves can be pinched by various tissues including:

  • Tendons
  • Ligaments
  • Bones


In the back, an injury could cause swelling, which could compress a nerve root in the spine. This could lead to lower back or neck pain. Not only that, but the pain may also radiate to other areas including the shoulder or arm. If the pinched nerve is in the lower back, then you may feel pain radiating down the back of your leg or to your foot.

Other Causes

Trapped nerves can be also be caused by:

Herniated disk in the back: in the spine, disks between the vertebrae can bulge or completely herniate (slip), which puts pressure on nerves that are near the herniate disk.

Arthritis: causes inflammation around bones and joints, which can lead to compression of nerves in the spine or other areas of the body.

Bone spurs: are when extra bone grows in an area, such as the spine. The extra bone can become large enough to trap nerves nearby.

Spondylolisthesis: is caused when vertebrae in the lower spine become dislodged.

Spinal stenosis: is a condition that causes narrowing of the spinal column, which can put extra pressure on nerves around the spinal cord.

Infection: the vertebrae and disks of the spine can become infected, which leads to nerve compression.

Sudden injury: sports injuries and other types of accidents can lead to injuries that cause nerve compression.

Obesity: carrying too much weight can cause swelling of the nerve pathways, which increases pressure on the nerves.

Diabetes: when the body levels of glucose (sugar) are too high, this can damage nerves.

Peripheral Neuropathy

When nerves are trapped in your arm or neck, the pain may radiate to the:

  • Elbow
  • Hand
  • Wrist
  • Fingers

In those cases, the pain may be diagnosed as peripheral neuropathy or carpal tunnel syndrome. Over time, if the compression is not relieved, the protective layer of the nerve can be damaged or destroyed. When this happens, fluid may build up around the area causing more pressure, swelling and even scarring. This can lead to chronic pain and permanent damage.

How Do We Treat Trapped Nerves?

Our professional practitioners may also use hands-on methods such as joint mobilisation, massage or soft tissue stretching to relieve your pain. They may also offer advice and guidance on posture, lifestyle, workstation setup, and exercise to help prevent addition or recurring injury.

If our practitioners determine your condition is severe, they may refer you for an MRI to learn more about what the issue may be. Then our practitioner will be able to determine if you need to be referred to a specialist.

If the problem is severe, our practitioners may refer you for an MRI scan to discover the cause of the problem. This image will tell your practitioner whether a referral to a specialist is required.

If you have questions about trapped nerves or would like to make an appointment with our practitioners, then please contact us today. We’re here to help you feel better and find relief!

Contact Us

For more information, call your local clinic on the number below.

Leeds: 0113 345 5060

Manchester: 0161 503 5656