Trapped nerves: what, how and why

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If you’ve ever endured an uncomfortable sensation or numbness somewhere on your body, then it’s likely that you had a pinched, or “trapped” nerve. Although usually not lasting long, it’s nonetheless unpleasant and can feel worrying if you’re not familiar with the pain. So, what is a trapped nerve, why does it happen, and how can you help to alleviate the pain?

Why does a trapped nerve occur?

A peripheral nerve is any nerve that is outside of the spinal cord or brain. When one of these nerves becomes damaged or irritated, this leads to the nerve being unable to send its sensory electrical impulses to the brain, which is why the numbness occurs. The associated inflammation with this can also cause pain signals to be directed to the brain, which is where the “pinched” feeling comes from.

What causes a trapped nerve to occur?

There are various causes of a trapped nerve. Here are the most common:


Particularly following physical exercise, if you suffer an injury then you’re susceptible to also getting a trapped nerve. This is because, as most sports injuries are muscle-related, the muscle becomes inflamed, which can then pinch nearby nerves.


As weight gain can cause pinched nerves by putting pressure on the surrounding nervous areas, being pregnant gives you an increased likelihood of experiencing a trapped nerve.


Due to diabetes-inducing and increasing sugar and fat in your blood, this can cause damage to nerves by restricting their nourishment intake which is carried by blood flow.

How can you alleviate the pain of a trapped nerve?

If the pinched nerve pain persists, then you should definitely consult a doctor to try and diagnose the root of the problem and to suggest a solution. However, in most cases if the pinched feeling is only mild and short-lasting, resting the affected area will help to significantly reduce it. As well as this, light exercise or physical therapy should help.

If you’re in Cardiff and need help regarding trapped nerves, chronic pain, joint and neck pain, or a wide variety of disorders, then get in touch with Pain Management Wales.

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