A trapped or pinched nerve occurs when there is compression of a nerve. The pressure may be the result of repetitive motions or from holding your body in one position for long periods, such as keeping elbows bent while sleeping.
Nerves are most vulnerable at places in your body where they travel through narrow spaces but have little soft tissue to protect them. Nerve compression often occurs when the nerve is pressed between tissues such as:
Since these nerves are deep in the body, the pain has an intense, achy character that is often accompanied by numbness or pins and needles. For example, if the pain radiates down the arm or leg, this could indicate that the sciatic nerve is trapped.
X-rays of the affected area shed little or no light on the problem as nerves do not show up on the image. If the symptoms are of concern, I can help to organise a CT or MRI scan.
Treatment is aimed at releasing tension around the surrounding area so that the nerve can glide freely through the narrow space again. Once more a combination of acupuncture and hands-on treatment is often the best way to settle symptoms.