Trapped Nerve in Neck: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Trapped Nerve in Neck
A Real Pain in the Neck

Recently in the clinic I seem to have had many patients coming in complaining of having a trapped nerve in neck pain. The first thing everyone says is: “I think I have a pinched nerve”. They say this whilst trying to look at me with their head slightly bent to one side and their neck looking like a Frankenstein stuck in a bolt and nut through it so stiff.

This is a classic story many chiropractors will tell you that they have seen before. Many patients come through their doors having woken-up with a stiff neck which progressively got a lot worse through the day. The inside of the right or left shoulder-blade, shoulder or arm might be killing them as well. So I thought I would tell you what I have seen as the two most common causessymptoms of a pinched nerve, and 12 tips for what you can do yourself to get some pain relief today.

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Symptoms of a Trapped Nerve in the Neck

You think you have a nerve that is being trapped which is causing all that pain into your neck maybe referring into a shoulder or arm.

By definition a symptom is usually what you can feel or see. A symptom is usually how you would explain what your feeling to your chiropractor or doctor.

What are some symptoms of a nerve being compressed in your neck?

Remember those patients with the neck ache I mentioned earlier, the ones who would come into a Chiropractic clinic with their neck in a torticollis position? These are some of the common answers I would hear from them as they try to describe their symptoms:

  1. I woke up and getting out of bed, or in the shower, I then felt my neck twinge and within a few hours my neck was really sore and now my neck is stuck.
  2. The pain is mainly in my shoulder, on top of my shoulder, down the inside of my shoulder-blade and the back of my arm with pins and needles down in my finger tips.
  3. My arm pain feels worse than my neck.
  4. If I raise my arm above my head it relieves the shoulder pain.
  5. Painkillers and anti-inflammatories are not helping at all to relieve my neck or arm pain.
  6. The pain is a deep, throbbing, ache in my arm.
  7. I have never had a problem like this before with a neck pain.
  8. The pain is worst in the early morning hours and wakes me up from sleep.
  9. I cannot find a comfortable position to get neck pain relief.
  10. Trying to drive the car was really sore and made the pain worse.

Sound familiar? These are just some of the ways patients might explain the symptoms of a nerve entrapment.

Want to know “what does nerve pain actually feel like?” it is best described as a deep, throbbing, pain in the bone, worst pain you have ever felt pain.

This is because with a true nerve irritation you will be experiencing what is medically termed, neurogenic pain.

Neurogenic pain is DIFFERENT from inflammatory pain.

Inflammatory pain is like when you have a back pain from pulled a muscle.

Causes of a Pinched Nerve in the Neck

I did promise I would tell you what are the two most common causes for why I see people wake-up in the morning with a wry neck or trap a nerve in the back of their neck or shoulder blade.

Before I tell you I would like you to first have the knowledge of the anatomy of a normal neck. I thought the following video shows quite nicely the basic human biology of the cervical spine. After watching the video you should be able to visualise key concepts like: what is a cervical disc, what is a cervical spinal nerve root and the what are the cervical facet joints.

Cause #1: A Problem with a Cervical Disc

A disc in your cervical spine could be a problem if you develop a prolapsed or herniated disc. Only an already degenerating unhealthy disc will cause a sudden, non-traumatic neck pain. Why this is so important to know because if you end up going for an MRI scan of your neck then it is common radiological finding to report a bulging, degenerating, dehydrated disc. Even healthy, pain-free people can have poor looking discs on a MRI scan.

What can happen to a cervical disc is micro-trauma tears to the outside of area of the disc, called the annulus fibrosis. These tears, delamination, could have occurred for no apparent reason over several months or years until one day you finally end up with a painful pinched nerve in your neck. The middle of the disc, called the nucleus pulposus, can then bulge the disc outwards or cause a herniation of its material even into the spinal cord space.

Signs of degeneration of the spinal joints (facet, uncinate) are another common finding. Degenerative changes in the joints of the neck are usually called spondylosis (a.k.a osteoarthritis) on a neck x-ray report. Where the disc is degenerating the joints are degenerating and visa versa. See how disc degeneration progresses occurs below.

Cause #2 can be a synovial meniscoid entrapment

Your probably asking “what the hell is a synovial meniscoid?” A synovial meniscoid is a normal structure found in all of the spinal joints of your neck. It is thought a synovial meniscoid can get trapped between the two surfaces of the joints of the neck. In the literature it is not common, but I definitely think it can happen.

In this case a person may present with a more local base of neck pain without major signs of a spinal nerve root compression coming from a disc injury. A pinched synovial meniscoid pain is typically one-sided and over the cervico-thoracic (CT) junction area of the spine. This is where your neck meets your upper back and is where the big bone (vertebrae prominens) at the back of your neck is found.

12 Self-Treatment Tips for a Trapped Nerve in Neck

If after an examination your chiropractor or doctor confirms that you do have what I call a true trapped nerve in your neck or shoulder then they will advise you further what they could do professionally to help you get some relief from the pain.

I believe many people may think they have this type of genuine nerve pain. However, what I mean by a true trapped nerve is a situation where the spinal nerve root coming of your spinal cord is either being irritated by a cervical disc lesion (like a herniation) or overstretched like in a stinger injury. This can occur with or without pain going down the inside of the shoulder blade or outer arm and forearm, and especially at the elbow. Medically this could be termed a cervical radiculopathy.

Here is a list of 12 more treatment tips:

  1. Don’t Avoid Seeing a Chiropractor/Doctor
    This is rule number one because even though you can try do some home treatment now, if you do have a more serious cause of nerve entrapment in your neck that this can cause you to lose function in that nerve. This is not to be alarmist, but pain is just a warning sign. There are worse things that can happen from having a trapped nerve. You may not realise linked problems like loss of muscle strength, bowel bladder changes from a severe disc herniation. There are other serious causes like an infection or tumors. Using a healthcare professional first to give you a diagnosis of your neck pain helps you then decide what to do next.
  2. Try the Bakody Sign Position
    The bakody sign is used to both diagnose and treat. To get pain relief from the pressure of a trapped nerve you would raise the affected arm, palm side down on top or behind your head. See the bakody’s sign position.
  3. Avoid Prolonged Sitting
    Sitting for too long will cause your head to slowly shift forward on your neck bone. This bad posture will place more stress on the spinal joints and discs in your neck. Not good when they might be inflamed or the nerve irritated. This also leads to a condtion called anterior head carriage, forward drawn posture or upper crossed syndrome.
  4. Use a Cervical Pillow
    I believe good pillow support will lower the stress placed on your neck and upper back. Supporting the joints of your neck will help lower the risk of further nerve irritation. I am a fan of the memory foam pillows. Memory foam pillows come in many shapes and sizes. There are lots of different brands out there for example like Tempur pedic. However, at the end of the day, any good pillow support from any type of pillow is definitely another important treatment exercise to help you control the neck pain levels.
  5. Move Your Neck In Pain Free Directions
    Immobilizing the neck completely with a neck collar can cause more neck ache and pains. Moving your neck gently in pain-free directions will then allow the other normal joints and discs in your neck to stay healthy. It is a fine balance between the amount of rest and movement.
  6. Neck Exercises
    The movement relationship from your jaw joint, neck, upper back, shoulder blade and all the way down the arm play an important part in fixing the problem. Have a look at the beginners neck pain exercises using two simple neck dynamic neuromuscular stabilization moves, these neck isometrics or look at releasing your trapezius muscle.
  7. Neurogenic Pain Medication vs Inflammatory Pain Medication
    At the end of the day the neck or shoulder and arm pain is what you are most concerned about. So how can you control the pain levels with medication? Chronic pain can occur from a severe acute pain episode therefore using appropriate trapped nerve medication can lower your risk of developing chronic neck pain. There are many different kinds of pain medication for trapped nerves, muscle spasms & inflamed joints. So speak to your doctor if your current pain medication is not helping. Neurogenic pain is specific to nerves vs inflammatory pain which is general.
  8. Using Cervical Traction Home Kits
    Caution must be advised if you are seeking to perform cervical traction at home on your neck. Traction is thought to be best if cervical traction is intermittent. Large amounts of force are not needed with traction of the neck. Your local chiropractor or orthopaedic/neurosurgeon could advise you on their personal feelings about using home cervical traction devices. Sometimes it is best left to your healthcare provider to perform the cervical traction for the pain in the neck.
  9. Keep Hydrated
    Being in constant pain can make you forget to drink water. If you are taking lots of trapped nerve pain killers and not eating or sleeping properly then hydration levels can become an issue. Excessive pain medication can stress your liver and kidneys. That is why hospitals are likely to put new admission patients on an intravenous (IV) saline drip. Remember to try drink some glasses of water during the day to help create a better natural healing environment in your body.
  10. Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
    Inflammation to some degree will be affecting the nerve entrapment pain in the neck. Deciding prescribing what you eat can have an effect on your pain levels and how fast your body can heal itself. Eating anti-inflammatory foods like the ones recommended in the Deflame Diet can be such a simple way to enhance your recovery.
  11. Hot Wraps and Cold Packs
    The general rule is heat is a natural muscle relaxant, cold is a natural anti-inflammatory and pain-killer. Microwaveable wheat bags, warm moist towels and hot water bottles are easy sources of heat therapy. The blue gel, moldable freezer ice packs are my favourite source of cold therapy. For ice keep it wrapped up in a dish cloth so you don’t freezer burn yourself and leave on the neck for 10-20 minutes with 1-2 hour breaks in between. For a disc pain try ice and for a meniscoid entrapment try heat.
  12. Try Magnesium Supplements
    [NEW] Read more about how low levels or magnesium deficiency is linked to a depressed nervous system and inflammation. After my own self-experiment and seeing what happens in patients with neck pain this is such a simple treatment tool not to be missed. Read more about magnesium supplements for pain.

More good news is there are some neck exercises you can try perform by yourself whilst getting your appropriate professional treatment. These exercises can be found in a self-help book by Robin McKenzie called “Treat Your Own Neck”. In the book, which is available to buy through Amazon, Robin goes through his regular rehabilitation exercise movements to help treat excess pressure on a disc in your neck.

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The Bottom Line

This self-help list for a pinched nerve is not everything, but only a guide. The above list of do it yourself treatments hopefully, should give you some good ideas as to what you can do to help trapped nerve in the neck episode. I hope you get better soon.


About Gary Kirwan

Chiropractor who likes helping people get better using movement as medicine as I know that the body has a fantastic ability to heal itself. Keen interest in trapped nerve pain as I know too many people live in pain in this world.

175 comments:

  1. Hay Alex, for a nerve to heal quickly it’s best to get the pressure of the nerve ASAP. That is probably why the physio sent you for traction so quickly. Other tests that should have been done on you so far would have been testing your muscle reflexes like your tricep and bicep, grading the motor strength and mapping the sensation in your arm. This helps to guage the extent of the pressure on the nerve and level involved. More advanced testing like nerve conduction studies and MRI scans may be warranted if the signs are the pressure is increasing. I’m glad to hear you are on some specific nerve pain medication like gabapentin. The neck exercises are they the McKenzie ones where you bend your neck backwards? People do get better from these types of events. As long as your doctor/physio is tracking and monitoring the situation all should be fine. I know it is not a nice thing to hear and can make you feel very apprehensive. Please discuss your concerns with whoever is monitoring you. The need to put your mind at ease.Hope that helps.

  2. I’m a climber and doing training so massive part of my life , including other excersizes I do ie yoga etc and also I play guitar , I thought 5 weeks ago that I’d pulled a muscle in shoulder then 2 weeks ago I woke up with tremendous pain and in my triceps and forearm My partner made me go to Dr who said to do 2 exercises with my arm and gave me 10 days painkillers. My pain got worse and I got loss of sensation in my thumb and the 2 fingers next to it . Went back saw a different Dr , he thought I had a trapped nerve in my neck referred me to physio and had some tests , saw physio today she said she referring me as an urgent case for traction as I have a root nerve trapped between C5 and C6 , I’m taking gabbapentin and codeine and 4 basic neck excersizes . I’m worried sick , I can’t climb I can’t play guitar and can’t do much at all with my arm with such limited movement ,pain and no feeling in thumb and 2 fingers . Why is it urgent I have traction , any one help ?

  3. Hi Cheryl, when it comes to cervical spine arthritis you don’t need to be in this kind of pain forever. It is possible that some extra piece of bone is irritating the nerve or the discs between the vertebrae have degenerated a little bit more recently causing a drop in height between the bones or bulging a bit more out. Saying that, there are many people with neck arthritis who aren’t suffering a pinched nerve down their arm. So what I’m trying to say is it doesn’t have to be a long-term thing now. From a damage perspective it depends on the kind of pressure on the nerve involved. The greater the pressure then finally the nerve can stop supplying the muscle it innervates leaving the muscle weak when tested. I have seen people with tricep muscle wasting from a neck pinched nerve and a few months later regain the muscle bulk and strength back nearly the same as the other arm without surgery. If it is in your thumb maybe the C6 nerve root is being irritated between your C5-C6 vertebrae. Your symptoms of feeling sick on the amitriptyline is not the first time I have heard that. When it comes to medication for pain we are all just individual chemistry experiments. Each person might need either different kinds of drugs or different dosages. A non-drug option I would suggest you consider are the McKenzie exercises for your neck. These are to see if you can take the pain out the arm. These neck exercise are in the book that I have linked to at the bottom of the post on Amazon UK or US. If you try the McKenzie exercises please let me know the results for you. I’m going to aim to write a post showing video of the exercises. I’ll drop you a reply to let you know when it goes live.

  4. Hi Gary, I’ve had neck pain running into shoulder and down arm, then constant pins and needles running into thumb, I had x rays and was diagnosed with cervical arthritis. I was given amytrip but stopped taking after 2 days as it made me feel so sick, ibuprofen were sufficient. The thing that worries me is it’s been 8 weeks now and my arm keeps going into constant spasm, very tight and uncomfortable, I can rest my hand on the top of my head to alleviate but its pointless as the moment I put it down it comes straight back. Is this a long term thing now? Will these spasms cause any long term damage?
    Thanks, Cheryl

  5. can a trapped nerve in the neck or shoulder area cause numbness in the back of my head and my arm and leg.and i get dizzy

  6. Hi i have the shoulder and neck pain but i also have lymphadema. My vains are starting to surface and cause me alot of pain. I havnt had a mri scan yet. Do u think my neck and shoulder pain is related to my lymphadema? P.s im 37

  7. I’m not sure if I have a trapped nerve but I’ll describe my situation! Dr’s are no help so maybe you could all help!
    For 4 years I have suffered from severe headaches usually steaming from neck pain. The worse they have been is 10 days in a row! I have been to my Dr whilst having an episode and been in tears but still no help. I have had herniated discs in the pass that they operated on 15 years ago. I managed to get to a back specialist that MRI scanned me and my disc’s are slightly herniated but not enough to operate on!
    I have ended up having to manage my neck and headaches as nobody will help. I have discovered that sitting for a long period can trigger my neck into stiffnes and knots in it, so now I lay down to watch tv etc in the evening. Both my shoulder joints ache, especially when I lay on my side in bed. It’s really getting me down as GP’s are no help. Trying to look after A 5 and 7 year old with this pain sometimes is hell, I can’t even pick them up without triggering my neck. Even silly things like putting a handbag over my shoulder can start the pain. Any advice would be great please.

  8. hi,i fell asleep on the couch and then went to bed,i never felt anything before i went to bed but when i woke up and tried to get out my bed thats when i felt the pain, i dont have any pains in my shoulder blades or arm its shooting pains that are going from my shoulder to the top of my neck. i can only move my head back and fore on the left hand side . when i try to do it on the other side thats when i get these very sore shooting pains

  9. Maybe something else to consider is “upper crossed syndrome” as coined by Prof Janda. Basically certain muscles become to strong/tight others become weak/tight. This is a postural syndrome that after what you have said about the years at the computer is related. Nutritionally maybe have a look at something called Acetyl-L-Carnitine which has been shown to help with nerve degeneration. I’m thinking of your long term trapped ulna nerve in your elbow. Here is a link to some on Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/R8b8HB

  10. Hi,I have been diagnosed with repetitive motion disorder …I worked sitting at a computer for the last 20 years. They denied me workers comp and now trying to treat myself. I have had x-rays, injections, dry needling, deep tissue, art, acupuncture … Still having pain between shoulder blades, i have big lumps around my scapula , under my arms, pain across my pecs, numbness in last 2 fingers, ulnar nerve is trapped.. Last person said I have nerve entrapment. I am in constant pain.. Any
    suggestions??

  11. hi
    Had a trapped nerve in my neck last year, Had pains across my chest and thought it was a heart attack, My left arm was numb and I got pins and needles in my fingers. I have no feeling in my pinkie,ring finger and middle finger now. The pains lasted for seven months and I was prescribed pain killers,anti inflamatory tablets, valium,and cream,none of them made the slightest difference,The only cure for me was physio and the pain was away in about 2 days.

  12. After 2 neurologist, 2 orthopedics, 1 neurosurgeon, 1 primary, 1 chiropractor , 3 MRI, 1 bonescan, x rays, and several injections and being high in pain medicine (tramadol, lirica, etc etc), $6000.00 dollars later and a bunch of clueless doctors I have one name for all of you, Dr Eric Douglas in Bonita Springs, FL. 239-947-4184 . http://douglasspt.com/
    This is the guy who will take care of your nerve, back, muscle pain.

  13. I’m 14 and I have got a trapped nerve from the way I was sleeping the night before. About 2 hours after I woke up I found out I had this pain in my neck and it gradually got worse. Sometimes with quick movement it would really hurt and I started crying so I went to see the doctor and she said it was a trapped nerve. This is my second day of having the pain and it’s still really sore and I’m worried about it.

  14. Hi Bagpuss, i hope Physio is working for you. I have had the same problem for 5 months now. My GP is useless and is refusing a scan and physio was very unhelpful and also refused me a scan. I ended up paying privately for a chiropractor who seems to be getting some where with it but progress is slow. I would recommend seeing a chiropractor if physio doesnt work for you and if you can afford it.

  15. Hi Jan gentle massage of the shoulders and back of neck could give you some relief.The osteoarthritis could be causing the trapped nerve.These trapped nerve pains can release on their own depending what the exact cause is.Hope you get some good tips from the comments on this page.Thanks for sharing your story.

  16. Hi, reading all these comments is a bit of comfort – its not just me in pain.
    I’ve had this trapped nerve for about 5 weeks now, its unbearable as I also have osteo arthritis and chronic lymph oedema for the last 10 years. this is the first time pain has stopped me doing anything, I have always found a way to carry on. My doc has prescribed Amytriptoline on top of my morphine, not working yet as I have to build up the strength over several weeks.

    Does it release its self? Does massage help?

  17. Hi I have just been diagnosed with a trapped nerve in my neck, I am coming up to week 3 now and all my symptoms are the same as yours. I find moving around does help, but night time is the worst in bed, I cannot get comfy and have only had about 8 hours sleep in the last 5 days, at times I find the pain unbearable in my arm and it does not matter how many pain killers I take it does not go away. I am waiting to see my N.H.S physio and have got everything crossed that they will be able to make this pain go away.

  18. totally agree with Mandx and Ink72, the fact that you are saying something like this on a website thats helping others cope with this really debilitating condition and you find it amusing to say something like that? I would never wish this on my worst enemies!!

    The “everyone needs to be mentally stronger” part really got to me as I have a full time job, i’m working towards a personal trainer qualification, I’ve got a house to run, physio, and I have to keep myself fit and healthy and then the day to say stresses of life in general to add to the mix, and I do “get on with it” but the stress that this condition puts people under does affect your mental state, I for one have been put off sick from work with mild depression but I am not wired that way and so finding it difficult to rest when I have lots on my plate as you don’t seem to have.

    Keep your cr***y comments to yourself!!!

    Sorry to the others but I needed to rant (I had left a comment when I first saw this but something went wrong!)

  19. why are you even on this link then? obviously to find out about the pain and suffering it causes. so that you can obviously sit and feel sorry for yourself. because no body else cares ………

  20. You have been lucky and only mildly trapped the nerve, wait until it really gets trapped, then it becomes very difficult to get on with anything even with the aid of painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs. People like you should keep their comments to themselves on medical matters as nerve impairment can often be a sign of something much worse than a trapped nerve.

  21. Hi Steve, let me know by posting a message if you read this then i will tell you my story regarding my trapped nerve which i first experienced back in 2007 and am still in agony with..Regards,

    Nigel.

  22. i have had what i think is a trapped nerve in my neck and severe pain and tingling in my shoulder left side had it for 5mths only worsen in time went to the gp and awaitng for x ray appointment on painkillers 24 7 and constantly there .only it as cost me time of work as i am a domestic cleaner for the n.h.s. god it is so annoying to cope with pain this long as all pain is and i no u all are suffering had accupunture that asnt work either please advice kind regards denise

  23. Hi Ruby, I have seen that if the nerve is being trapped as it is leaving the spine that a combination of pain medication is definitely needed to try control the pain levels. Unfortunately there is no perfect combo for this. Hopefully your GP or orthopaedic surgeon has a combination they have seen to be useful. Avoiding having too much extension in his neck could help take some of the pressure off the nerve. These conditions can be so frustrating I know and I hope he gets some sort of relief soon.

  24. How come everybody seems to think it lasts for months and months.
    I’ve had this problem a good 4-5 times and everytime it’s lasted about 5 days tops.
    I went to my doctor the 1st ever time it happened and all I did was get on with my days as usual.
    Yes it may be painful. Dont bother taking painkillers just don’t focus on it constantly.
    Resting and doing nothing by taking time off isn’t much help at all, because how is it to heal by staying still all the time?
    Everyone needs to be a bit mentally stronger and not feel so devastated by worrying constantly.
    Just do your thing as usual.
    It happens.
    It’s part of life.
    Live it

  25. The balding is something not associated with a trapped nerve in your neck. Let us know how it goes with the chiropractic treatment be interesting to hear how your body responds.

  26. Hi Ive just come back from a Chiropractor after suffering for 2 years with GP’s not knowing whats what. The chiropractor says I possibly have the 6th cervical spine disc stiffened on the right side and trapped a nerve. Hes trying to free it up with movement/massage etc. Im balding on the right side of my head (bad circualtion to that side/no blood flow). I get pins and needles in my hands and aches down the right hand side of my back. Im baffled… never been to a chiropractor, thought Id give him a go.

  27. Sure a cervical spine MRI is just if your neck. The violent committing could have started the problem. From what you describe I would start looking at testing the disc in your neck. The pain does sound like a radiculopathy pain and not a referred organ pain. Could also be a very bd strain of the ribs and diaphragm muscle as well. Some simple orthopaedic tests like Spurlings and sensory motor and reflex testing would have been quicker than waiting for an MRI though. Least you having it seen to and let me know how it goes with the MRI

  28. Hi Gary

    I woke up one day with pain in my neck, but I also have pain around my shoulder, shoulder blade, chest, ribs and diaphragm- the pain doesn’t extend any further than where my ribs end as is just on my left side. It’s been ongoing for about 6 weeks now and I had it following a migraine when I vomited quite violently. My GP has referred me for a cervical spine MRI, but i’m worried that the scan will miss a lot of the pain- isn’t a cervical spine MRI pretty much just of your neck? Much of my pain is around my shoulder, shoulder blade etc. I find it hard to describe the pain because it isn’t quite like anything i’ve experienced before- it’s like a dull ache constantly which gets worse if i sit in the same position for too long. It isn’t really a sharp pain and the pain is hardly ever on my neck- i do get neck pain, but it’s worse around my shoulder. The pain feels like it’s ‘on the bone’ sometimes’ collar bone, other bones i don’t know the names of! And it helps the pain if i stretch or lift my arm/shoulder.
    I have watched the video above but could a trapped/pinched nerve in the neck cause these problems?
    I am seeing my GP, so I’m not seeking ‘medical advice’ here, just your opinion would be fab.

    I’ve noticed some people experience ‘shooting pains’ which I do not and i also don’t suffer with the pain any further down my arm than around my shoulder (yet!) , luckily.

    Thanks for your help.

  29. Hi,

    I suffered quite bad last year with this condition but I’d ended up not going for physio because I was on crutches and didn’t really see the point if it undone all the hard work from the Physio. So about 3 months ago I started getting the familiar feelings of the tingling in my fingers and the cramp in my shoulder and elbow. Then one night I was in tears as the pain had gone all the way down the right side of my spine and NO amount of painkillers was shifting it, I actually hobbled into work I was in that much pain. I’ve booked an assessment again with the NHS but I am considering going to BUPA as they helped me get back on my feet with my knees in quick time.

    I’m gutted because I’m a goalkeeper and love playing footy but I can’t brush my hair at the minute never mind try and save some goals :(

    Do you think it gets worse in the autumn/winter months as this is when I seem to notice it more (it is there all the time but gets worse during the cold months)

    any more info that you can give would be fabulous as this is getting really bad I may have to take more time off work.

  30. Hi i too have symptoms of pain in lower right base of neck and under right shoulder blade. Worst of all is numbness to shoulder, elbow, lower arm/wrist and fingers. I have tried everything from gp visits to heat pads, massage, hot water bottle but not much relief. When i raise my right arm above my head pain is less. This has happened to me before but this time (4 weeks) its much worse. Any help or suggestions welcome please

  31. hello
    i am brian and im 26 years old i had woke up one day with a little stiffness in the left side of my neck but as the day went on it got worse i find it hard to turn my head and sumtimes when i do i get a shooting pain from the side of my neck up the back of my head i dont get any pain in my arm or shoulder its just from the left side of my neck upto the back of my head and i find it very hard to liy down as it causes the shootin pain to the lower back of my head i also hear a little clickin in my neck when i turn it could this be a bad trapped nerve i would be greatful for sum answers if any1 could know as to what it could be …

    thank you..

  32. Jane I hope this pain episode has calmed down for you. I would say you need a thorough review of your health history and physical examination to let you know a treatment plan you can work with for the future. Having pain for as long as you have had means you are also dealing with a chronic pain which needs a different treatment approach.

  33. i have had this problem for a while now due to a car accident. i have had 3 mri scans and the first did not show any problems….the second showed that i have a herniated discand the 3rd mri due to me being in alot of pain again and i now have 2 herniated discs in my neck so my condition had got worse im not booked in to have an operation to resolve this. i completely understand the pain…

  34. OMG..I am so at the end of my tether with this problem now.I have had this so-called trapped nerve on and off for the past 14yrs.Ive had MRI scan and nothing was found,ive seen a few gps,physio therapist,chiropractor.Ive been prescribed anti-inflamatories,codiene,paracetamol,heat packs,cold packs nothing is helping.I have all the above symptoms and it is getting worse,theres no let up from the agony.I have been up most of the night in pain and this morning it is worse than its ever been.Is it worth me going to A & E? I cant take much more

  35. I think you are within your rights to ask to see a specialist if you are not receiving the best/correct care (check out NHS ‘NICE guidelines’…I’m complaining in the morning re. many issues I’ve been badly treated over!). I have a trapped nerve in neck (worst pain ever had..can’t type for long, but can’t lie down to sleep so been ‘Googling’ to look for help), went to A&E 4 days ago and GP wrote a script for a load of painkillers that I’ve since researched aren’t much use for ‘neuropathic pain’. Just scared now I’ll go the way of your poor wife! Paying for private osteopath now (mum helping as out of work in a week!!). Good luck John…ouch, g’night.

  36. After three months of pain and being diagnosed two months ago I really do think rest and physio is the best thing. Movement aggrivates the nerve so when you are in so much pain rest is needed. My doctor is now referring me to a neuro surgeon but am hoping by the time I get the appointment my pain would have lessoned which has been much better since my note a week ago. I thought I would never get better the pain was unbearable for the first month and be housebound forever but now feel confident that things are improving. So be patient it certainly takes time.

  37. my doctor says l have a trapped nerve in my neck? l,ve been suffering pains down my arm 4 weeks getting worse an worse moving down my arm what can l do?

  38. I have a trapped nerve in my neck and am having an MRI scan today. I have had this two months now and am feeling rather low and frustrated about it. The pain was unbearable for the 1st month and now a constant pain every day. I have just come back from holiday and had to stay in every night due to the pain. Its bearable first thing in the morning and gets worse as the day goes on. I just wonder how long this will go on for and how it will affect my life, I am usually quite active and now nearly house bound,. I can only walk for 5 minutes before the pain kicks in.

  39. this morning i woke up and turned over & heard a crack in my neck. im in cronic pain, i can move it left to right but cant put it up and down and tilt my head left and right? ive had 2 massages, taken panadol, put tiger balm on it and now im doing the ice & heat thing. the pain thru it is like having a leg cramp? and my neck tenses up. it feels all tight to. do i just have a neck strain or do i have a pinched nerve && will it go away or do i have to see a doctor ?????????????

  40. hi im 38 went to the doc in april he told me i had trapped nerve ive been put on gabapentin 300mg 3 times a day he ssent me to physio my symptoms are sharp stabbing pain down my arms pain all the way down my arms to my finger tips pins and needles some days i wish i had a pair of slings to put my arms in the pain is also in my neck and in my back half way down sometimes i feel like im on fire through my back neck and arms my neck and back also click alot when i move about ive been told there gona give me an mri scan and they think it could be my back d4 rather than a trapped nerve can anyone help

  41. hi, I think I have a trapped nerve but I’m not to certain, I was walking up the stairs and all of a sudden a sharp pain from my back went up to my head and arms.
    It was getting better up until I went to bed…
    I started 6th form last week and I’m already off because I can barley move without hurting.
    Gonna go to the doctors to day to see if they can help at all most likely the can’t but it’s worth a try…

  42. been reading along and very few people are mentioning one semptom that you mention which is back pain. like to know if this is nerve or what and havent heard a reply. im in alot of neck back and shoulder pain just showed up one day very painful

  43. i have a pain on my neck ,shoulder and back,i have been living with yhe pain for the past three years,im switching from one docter to the other.i really need help

  44. Wood it would really depend on if there is any nerve damage results like sensation or motor changes for example. The problem with a pain for over 2 years is it is classified as chronic pain which is treated differently to acute pain. Chronic pain is the type sometimes treated in pain clinics in hospitals on the UK. If a pain won’t respond to other treatments a pain clinic referral is given so a patient can be told how to cope with the pain.

  45. Hi, I have had lower back (weak muscles) problems for years, 2 weeks ago I was moving a piece of furniture and something gave in my right lower back, I am now in agony when moving , when seated upright with a back support on chair no pain. when i try to stand or twist or readjust seating I am in agony pain is an 8 or 9 canot walk , cannot put weight on my right leg , i have now also developed severe pain in the back of my right leg/calf. Went to A&E and was given 3 day supply of diazepam and diplofenic and advised to take co-codamol if systems get worse return to hospital if not improve see doctor. Hospital also sending letter to GP for possible scan and specialist.
    I have only had about 5 hours sleep in the last 3 evenings and I have had to get up from bed in the early hours due to the pain and come downstairs (1 step at a time on my bum) to sit in a chair.
    I think I have a trapped nerve

  46. hi i am having exactly the same symptoms and have had threm for 4 weeks,i am taking solpodol and was prescribed amtitriptaline but had to stop them as made me completely drowsy,i have never felt pain like it,these forums helped a lot thanks.xx

  47. If i have had a pinched nerve in my neck for 2years without any treatment would that lead to more damage etc? because i went to doctors because of an injury on my neck 2years ago and they didn’t do anything for my neck just gave me painkillers kept going back to doctors finally after 2years i find out whats up but curious to know what would have to be done if ive had it for 2years and no treatment??

  48. gary,all of the above,pain numbness mri xray blah blah nobody cares .you should tell folks that the medical community aint listening .ive had all this 12 weeks now and my gp.3chiros,accupunturist /graston provider all say the same thing;it takes time then they go home happy.ive lost 2 inches of muscle mass in my right arm in 3 mos..my gp even agreed to cortisone then put the shot in my right pec.you cant fix stupid.

  49. Debbie your rheumatoid arthritis and osteo-arthritis in conjunction with a whiplash trauma can make optimal healing times in your body more prolonged possibly. The pain medication can only do so much for the internal inflammation inside your body.You probably need some hands on therapy as well to help with muscle spasm and aches.

  50. Abdul I feel for you hearing you haven’t been told the results of all your MRI scans and nerve conduction studies as yet.Once they know the source of the pain be it spinal nerve root, spinal cord etc… then at least you know what the plan of action and the solution to your problem.Yours is a severe case compared to the typical trapped nerve and I hope they tell you soon what the diagnosis is for you.When you find out let us know be interesting to hear what they say.

  51. Apologies, also another sympton is numbness and itching on both sides of my neck and shoulder but the left side in considerably worse

  52. Hi. Im a rugby player but has been out of action for nearly 3 months now, ive had a problem with my neck since a rugby injury 5 months ago but it was only bad occassionally for example after training or games i would get bad shooting pains so i was seeing my physio who said it was not musculer. The pain then become unbareable so since then ive had mri’s, nerve tests and x-rays and i am waiting to see a neurosurgeon. However, for the last 2 weeks i have been unable to move from my bed the pain is so bad i am on various different painkillers such as tramaduls and dipofenics. I’ve lost over 3 stone. My symptoms get worse daily and i rarely sleep. My symptoms began as occassional shooting pains down the left side of my neck which lasted an hour. Now my sympons are continous unbareable pain in both sides of neck and shoulders, left being worse. I cannot move my left arm from the elbow up, therefore, i cannot eat food as i cant bring the fork to my mouth. Im 18 years old and quite frankly its ruining my life, i havent been outside for weeks because its too painful to move. My concern is that they will not be able to do anything and i will be in this pain forever, so i was wondering what a common solution is for this, if one??
    Thanks very much Abdul

  53. I have just found out that I have osteoarthritis in C5/6 and C7/8 in my neck and had a car accident 8 weeks ago and had whip lash. I have been in agony with my neck and shoulders and pins and needles in my arms and hands. I take Naproxen and Hydroxychloriquine as I also have rheumatoid arthritis in my hands, knees and ankles. My dr has told me that I have a pinched/trapped nerve in my neck and to rest and wear a stiff neck collar. I was wondering how long I would be in pain for / how long this would last as I am struggling to live a normal life as certain aspects are very limiting.

  54. hi ive had pain in my neck shoulders right down my both arms since feb been on gapapentin for about 2 months never had pain like it also im on fire and really sharp knife like pain in my arms been told its a trapped nerve and under pysio anybody help

  55. Oh Dear. I’ve got 9 of the 10 symptoms mentioned above ! I’ve had the severe nerve/arm pain about 2 weeks now and reading letters below is scaring me a bit as I fear I might have to endure this a long time maybe. Luckily,if it can be called lucky, I went for a complete spinal MRI yesterday because of the lower back problems I’ve been having for a number of years now. I’d only had the nerve pain 2 days when I saw the consultant about my back pain and booking the MRI and I expected it to be gone by now. I hope they can spot something in my neck which they can help me get cleared up asap. Fingers crossed all these different pains aren’t signs of further degeneration to come.

  56. Oh Dear. I’ve got 9 of the 10 symptoms mentioned above ! I’ve had the severe nerve/arm pain about 2 weeks now and reading letters below is scaring me a bit as I fear I might have to endure this a long time maybe. Luckily,if it can be called lucky, I went for a complete spinal MRI yesterday because of the lower back problems I’ve been having for a number of years now. I’d only had the nerve pain 2 days when I saw the consultant about my back pain and booking the MRI and I expected it to be gone by now. I hope they can spot something in my neck which they can help me get cleared up asap. Fingers crossed all these different pains aren’t signs of further degeneration to come.

  57. Being 16 years old it is unlikely you have a disc herniation or arthritic
    joint changes unless there is something in your past medical health history.
    It would be best to have a doctor examine you to let you know what the
    source of the pain is then you could have a plan as to how to treat the neck
    pain. If it is more a muscle, joint or posture issue then there are things
    you can do yourself to help that. Best first to get a diagnosis though.

  58. Hello. your article was very helpfull, i am only 16 years of age n i have experienced this about 4 times, it has returned now after being gone for about 6 months, i feel most the symptoms and i have no idea what to do, a doctors appointment is to far away and i am scared there may be damage as it keeps occouring, any advice how to get rid of it quick and avoid it? or should i vivst a GP n hospital n get scans?

  59. Sounds like you have been diagnosed with an ulna neuropathy at the elbow.It could be from leaning on the elbows trapping the nerve.Maybe even having some blood tests to see how your thyroid hormone is doing.The nerve conduction studies would try pinpoint where the nerve signal is going wrong.Your neck can be contributing to the problem if your posture is not correct.The nerve leaving the neck has a different distribution to the ulna nerve which is what the nerve tests should have checked for.The way your doctor would look at it is to ask is this a peripheral nerve entrapment at the elbow (i.e. ulna nerve) or a nerve root entrapment at the neck (i.e. C8 radiculopathy).If you are concerned just ask your doctor to explain to again that they are happy it is just a “peripheral nerve entrapment” so that you feel you have informed consent for the surgery.They would give you all your findings again to reassure.Good luck with the new eating plan, I hope it changes your health for the better.

  60. Hi For sometime now I am woken frequently from sleep because my small finger and the one next to it is numb which is painful. Sometimes it’s both arms sometimes it happens in the left only and vice versa. I have been to the hospital for tests and I have been told that I have trapped nerves in my elbows. When I went for the tests I was asked if i get pain in my neck and I do but I don’t think any tests were done to check if I have a trapped nerve in my neck. My neck cracks a lot and sometime it feels like I dont have the support to hold my head up. Also it is sometimes difficult to turn my head to the left.

    I am having surgery in a few weeks on my right elbow to try and release the nerve but I am having second thoughts now. What do you suggest, should I go back to the Dr and ask him to refer me for tests on my neck and then consider a Chiropractor.

    In addition I am obese and I asked the consultant if losing the weight would make a difference and he said no. I am on a healthy eating diet and haven’t noticed any improvement as such but I still have a way to go.

  61. Hello Gary
    Thanks for your reply, if you can not afford to go private and your GP wont help it looks like you are DOOMED to a life of cronic pain, now thats what i call sad, it seems to me the GP takes the good money but wont do the work, the surgery i and my wife go to has definitely down hill. john

  62. Danielle best to get your mum to take you to see your GP if she hasn’t
    already especially with your eating habits having changed.They could do
    further testing to tell you what is happening.

  63. gary i have a question i have had this pain in my right shoulder/ neck and i wake up and it hurts so bad.i have had thius for about a year maybe but my eating habits have been very weird lately. i haven’t been eating as much as i’m supposed to im lucky if i get one full meal a day. i don’t know what to do and i have read these paragraphs and i have read that this can cause other conditions you can get. and before i read this my mother said something that i might have a tumor or a sist cause i was getting so full and i had barley eatin anything i am so scared im only 14 help me…..

  64. Hi Claire,nerve pain can take several months to resolve. Pins and needles
    are just one symptom of a trapped nerve, you don’t need to have pins and
    needles to confirm a trapped nerve. The degeneration in your neck can be a
    source of the trapped nerve pain for sure.

  65. Hi,
    I have had arm, upper back and pain under arm pit for 7 weeks. its like a throbbing ache really annoying, was excruciating first week has got better but is still there everyday had no pins or needles or numbness just pain, can feel muscle under arm twitch and the chiropractor says it is very tense and is a trigger point. Xray showed wear and tear and narrowing of c5,c6,c7. Could this be causing my pain and is it likely to be nerve pain if there is no pins and needles? Can nerve pain last this long?

    thanks
    Claire

  66. The GP is the gatekeeper for referring you within the NHS system to see maybe a neurologist, rheumatologist, neurosurgeon etc… I’m not sure if seeing an A&E doctor could get you a hospital referral otherwise the private healthcare route where you would have to pay to see a specialist privately for a consultation at least. I had to do that to see an ENT specialist once for severe ear ache.

  67. Hi, I’m just in recovery from a diagnosed pinched/trapped nerve in my neck I picked up 3 months ago. The severe pain in my right shoulder blade and down the back of my arm into my elbow and middle fingers lasted for about 8 weeks. I also suffered with twitching to my right chest and lateral back muscle. I’ve also considerable strength in my right tricep, shoulder and back which seems to be improving slowly. The improvement in pain reduction has been very rapid over the last 4 weeks. The painkillers and anti inflams were not that successfull. One of the best things I found for temporary pain relief was a hot water bottle placed against the shoulder blade, this helped to relax the muscle. I’m told that putting a cold pack against the painfull area helps with the healing as it encourages blood flow to the area. However I would advise discussing this with your Doctor or Physio. I found that the best treatment was by the national health physio. She was able to work on the neck area, gently pressing into the areas that were believed to have the pinched nerve. She also was able to massage the muscles around my shoulder blade which also helped to loosen up the knots and eventually ease the pain and again encouraging blood flow to aid healing.

    I know how painfull this condition is but in the majority of cases it will improve and I urge you to make sure that you get good physio help and advice and also an X ray/scan of your neck to help with diagnosis. Do not let your Doctor fob you off with telling you just to take painkillers. i hope this helps.

  68. Hi, i have this throbbing pain in my neck which goes up the back of the head into the back of the right eye – what is it?

  69. I have been diagnosed with a trapped nerve in my left shoulder.it is now three months since this happend,Ihave had two MRI scans ,two X-rays,numerous visits to a physio.,also been to see two specialists,one orthapedic the other to do with nerve problems.
    since this problem occured I now have a lot of muscle wastage around the shoulder and upper arm,as yet nobody has suggested how it was caused and how it can be treated. One X-ray did show damage to the upper spinal area.
    I now have been refered to a spinal specialist to see if he can see any problems as to why I have no control to move my upper arm .
    I do suffer with a dull pain around the shoulder area .

  70. i am experiencing dissyness when i move in certain ways i think it is conected to my slipped disc in back or neck pain is this possible if anyone has similar problem i would like to know

  71. my mum has a trapped nerve and had to have an operation to free the nerve as well Johnhands21

  72. Hello
    My wife had a traped nerve in the back of the neck the problem went on for about two years befor she had an operation to free the nerve but buy then the damage was done she now has a damaged nerve and is in a lot of pain all the time and she also takes a lot of medication for the pain but over the years the pain is getting worce, i have been to the GP for the last three visits with my wife and i have asked if she can see a consultant or someone who deals with damaged nerves and he has said NO, now can i go above the GP and how can i do it

  73. no my legs r fine the pain on my arms is bearable with the gabapentin i go to see the consultant at the end of june i will have the opperation later in the year it obviously isnt going to get better it would be nice to hear from someone who has had a opperation on there necks and see whether it worked and ended the pain !!!

  74. just to thank you for the tip of having a rolled up towel behind my neck, i have had the first full night’s sleep in 6 weeks, so today i feel refreshed, and not my grumpy self as i have been recently.

  75. hello, ive had 6 weeks now of excrutiating pain, and have been diagnosed with sponylosis/trapped nerve in my neck. the pain travels from my neck, around my shoulder blade, then down my left arm and numbing of index finger and thumb. the doctor precribed diclofenac, co-dydramol, and gabapentim, which work sometimes when the pain is mild.. i also have acupuncture from my surgery, which eases it a bit. but today i woke up in agony, and went to a chinese acupuncture specialist, who did an intensive treatment hour on me. it was pure agony, and the back of my neck is now swollen from one of the needles. it cost me £45, and there was no change in pain relief. they said will need 6 sessions at the same price per time, so i think i will stick to my surgery.. i so sympathise with all who have this ailment, because it changes your life, i cant go to work, i can hardly do anything around my home, if i go shopping, the pain is bad for days, because of all the walking about.. its getting me down, but im trying to stay positive. this site is just the best, ive had so many hints and tips from other sufferers, i know i’m not alone in this.

  76. My partner is suffering from a trapped nerve and is booked in to see a chiropractor next week, I was wondering if there was anything I could do or suggest to help temporarily ease the pain in the interim period.

  77. Hi Linda, yes the numbness on the left side of your face can be caused by other things and is not related to a trapped nerve in your neck. The nerve in your neck doesn’t supply the face at all. I hope you have already seen a doctor to see what is happening with the new symptoms on your face.

  78. I’ve had a trapped nerve in my neck for about 4 years now,i found out through having a MRI scan,i’ve been taking anti-inflammatories,but recently it’s been really painful across my shoulders and down my right arm.I’ve also had pins and needles and numbness,i’m going back to the hospital in a couple of weeks but it’s now scaring me as i’m now having pins and needles and numbness down left side of my face.Could this be caused by anything else?

  79. Hi Valerie, a degenerated disc can’t be re-hydrated back to its original size and shape unfortunately. Some herniated discs have been known to naturally resorb back in to a degree over a period of time. A chiropractor could be apart of the conservative care team for a trapped nerve pain episode and might do lots of things to help the pain like gentle traction, soft muscle work, taping, electrical modalities etc… The main aim would be to help you through the response to the pain your body has in conjunction with any medication prescribed by your GP or specialist. I feel trapped nerve pains in the neck need a gentle approach to try heal without surgery be it physiotherapy, chiropractic or osteopathy you are using.

  80. Hi Carol, glad you liked the article. The symptoms for a trapped nerve coming from your neck can vary between people. Your doctor who diagnosed the trapped nerve should say if it is in the neck or not. Maybe there are other conditions to consider which could be affecting the cardiovascular system i.e. blood supply. Typically the trapped nerve pain from a disc in your neck would be daily not weeks apart. Hope your doctor has managed to help you out.

  81. going 2 consultant in june not sure whether 2 have opp on neck or carry on taking gabapentin has anyone had opp on neck and has it worked

  82. sorry, i forgot to mention that there can be weeks inbetween each time it happens. thanks.

  83. Thanks, this site been the most informative and simple. I did visit my doctor who also said i may have a trapped nerve. My symptoms start in my arm, feeling been squeezed so tight it so painful, arm feels heavy and I drain , feeling of nausea,all this happens from start to finish about 5 minutes , scary. In your list of symptoms you have not mentioned some of my symptoms.. does that then mean it’s not in my neck?

  84. i have this problem now with pain in my arm ,pins and needles and pain up around my shoulder blade got a MRI and CT Scan found out with Neurosurgeon two diseased discs compressing and failing and spur growth crushing my nerves. Needs surgery two artificial disks inserted cleared out around nerves and stainless plates till this area fuses together 4 days in Hospital 2-3wks recovery

  85. IF I HAVE A TRAPPED OR PINCHED NERVE IN MY NECK CAN A CHIROPRACTOR FIX IT? AND WHAT IF THE DISCS ARE HERNIATED AND THERE IS DEGENERATION?

  86. Hay Kay, one thing to ask your physio is have they worked on your right infraspinatus muscle around your shoulder blade, maybe that muscle is also contributing to the feeling in the arm and fingers from a trigger point in the muscle. Have them test it to see if it reproduces some of the arm pain or tingles in the fingers. Even if the diagnoses is a cervical disc causing a trapped nerve sometimes treating the muscles irritated can help in the pain process. When your sitting like in the car or desk it is important to be aware of your neck curvature. If your head is too far in front of your spine it can place extra stress on the disc and muscles around your neck.

  87. Thanks Steven but don’t think I could put up with this pain for 8yrs,I think I’ll maybe look at alternative treatment.

  88. hi i have the same symtoms as u i have had the pins and needles for 8 years 24/7 i have nerve pain all down both arms and ive been on gabapentin 1800 a day i go back to hospital for 6 month check in august and will prob have an opp that they offered me they said the discs between my 5th and 6th vertabrea was wearing away hope this was helpfull

  89. I have been having pain in my shoulder,down through the arm muscles and pins & needles in my right hand and fingers for about 6-8 weeks now.I have been seeing a physio now for about 5 weeks but the symtoms don’t seem to be getting any better.She has been working on my neck and spine as she said it was very stiff.The pain gets worse when in a sitting position(driving) and when using my right hand(I work with a computer on a daily basis).Should I continue with physio or should I seek alternative treatment.I have’nt had problems sleeping as it gets better when rested.

  90. for 8 years ive had constant pins and needles in thumb and index finger had mri and they found vertabrae damage in my neck i have severe pain in arms shoulder and i am on 1800 mg of gabapentin i am going back to consultant in 6 months and may have an operation they offered me an incision in my neck has anyone had one of those operations thanks steve n

  91. Whiplash is a notoriously difficult injury to diagnose due to the way it manifests in different victims.

    whiplash compensation

  92. Thanks for the kind words Mags. It does sound like a trapped nerve pain from your spine problem you have at the moment. I hope you get some relief soon. Let us know if anything in particular helped you.

  93. Im so glad i read your blog as your symtoms are identical to mine. Will book appt with physio asap. Thank You Brybry44.

  94. Hiya. Your article has been really helpful. I have the pain at back of neck,shoulder and down my left arm. The pain in my arm is the worst it goes down to the back of my hand. Seeing the vertabrae was really interesting. Thank You

  95. Many thanks, I asked about height purely because when I’ve seen a few people recently that I don’t see often they’ve commented,about me shrinking. I’ve laughed this off by saying “at least when my kids have flown the nest and have their own homes I won’t need to worry about having a key they can just put in a cat flat”. I’l keep your advice in mind should this be the outcome and will keep you informed if thats ok? Val

  96. Thanks Cal :) The injection would take affect quickly as it would usually contain a steroid. Nerve root block injections can act as a treatment and as a diagnostic tool for your doctor. Diagnostic meaning there could be more to what is causing your pain if it hasn’t done the job. I also think once a nerve is “wound up” sometimes it takes awhile for its pain signals to cool down, so rest (time) might help. A good round-up about the nerve root block procedure and facet injections for back pain can be read here if you haven’t already.

  97. Spinal osteo-arthritis can affect your height eventually if the discs drop enough in height or you can stand up as straight as you used to. You would have to compare your height over a period of time like a year or two to really see a difference I think. Best treatment would be conservative like exercise, posture awareness & good nutrition. Every now and then maybe massage, mobilisation of the joints. In extreme cases injection for the pain or in rare cases surgery is used. Hope that helps you Val. Good luck.

  98. Hi – Great Blog! I have been diagnosed with a prolapsed cervical (c6/7) disc and nerve damage in my right arm. I had a nerve root block injection and thought I would be back to work this week, but I am not. When should this injection take effect? I do not have the same excruciating pain of last week, but pain nontheless, the same as about 6 weeks ago? Do you think the pain will go with rest? Thanks Cal

  99. Many thanks for replying so promptly, I will speak to my own G.P when I see him. If this is the cause would it affect my height? I’m only just coming up to my mid-forties and hopefully have a good few years left, is there any treatments available that you are aware of? Again many thanks, Val

  100. Hay Val, there are times when a trapped nerve pain can be coming from osteo-arthritis in the spine. The arthritis can create things called boney spurs which can irritate the nerve as it leaves the spine. Also arthritic degeneration can cause the discs in the neck to loss height so the bones are closer together. A neck x-ray would tell you more and is a simple procedure. I would tell your GP about your family history.

  101. Steve it is important that a diagnoses is made as to were the pain is coming from. Nerve pain is a terrible pain and can last longer than other pains. If it is a trapped nerve pain from your neck then nerve pain medications and physiotherapy might help while things are healing. If the pain is not improving or things worsen then you might need a neurological exam and an MRI scan to see what the state of the nerve root and disc in the neck are. Long term the body can heal itself and there are occasions when spine surgery is needed. It does sound like nerve pain so I hope you recover soon.

  102. Hello all, I had what was said to be a trapped nerve in my neck in October 2010, managed with paracetamol and Ibruprofen and a few doses of Tramadol from my G.P. The tramadol wiped me out as I am on regular medication for Bi-polar afffected disorder. Thankfully the intense pain passed in just over a week. 4 weeks ago it returned with vengence, I have been in continuous pain from my my neck to my fingers since. My muscles in both my upper and lower arm are rock hard and in continuos spasm. A doctor I saw last week tried to release the nerve my manipulation, this has helped with my neck movement but has done nothing for the intense pain. At present I am taking a cocktail of drugs Reboxitine 12mg, Amitriptyline 100mg for my Bi-polar, Methocarbamol 750mg 2×4 daily, co-codamol 30/500mg 2×4 daily and Ibruprofen 400mg 3x daily. None of theses are helping. I have in the passed few years suffered from siactica in my lower back. I was diagnosed with oesteo-artheritis in my knees about 10years ago. My late mother also had oesteo- artheritis mainly in her knees and spine and suffered from a young age. Do you think It would be advisable to inform my G.P, is it a possibility this could be the cause? My arm and shoulder have both been inflammed on both occasions. Any advice would be gratefully recieved. Val

  103. I’ve just developed this problem …I just got up with a slight ache in my shoulder and arm ,I thought i had been laying wrong..within a day i was in agony ..every movement was excruciating if even when i lay down ..needless to say i have not had a decent nights sleep for a week…1 night i was in so much pain i was crying with that i saw my doctor who suspected a neck problem and immediately sent me to the hospital but the doctor there x rayed my arm and said it was a tendon problem …i saw a physio briefly who said that it was my neck and after a few prods and pokes i felt relief for a few hours…however the pain has returned ..i am waiting to see the physio again and i am taking 3 types of pain killers 18 a day in total i cannot take anti- inflammatory drugs including ibuprofen as i have had colon surgery and they cause me problems ..needless to say i cannot work as i cannot drive for long as my arm will spasm even using my computer causes pain when i type ….i doing the exercises as told but i need something long term ….does anyone know of a long term treatment if i need it …i cannot afford to be out off work ….Steve

  104. I,ve had this problem for 3 weeks now, Finally got some releif when i went to see a physio, exercise i got was pushing my chin in with my fingers, sounds daft but it has releived the pain in my arm and hand, it hursts on your neck when you perform this exersise but goes away after 10 mins, I am feeling much better now but still really bad in the morning, but these exersises do help

  105. Coz glad to hear you are getting taken care by your physio. You should mention to the physio about the headache and ear ringing. The ear ringing wouldn’t occur with a trapped nerve in the neck as it is a different nerve. The headache might be because of neck spasm which is causing a referred headache symptom. Definitely talk to the healthcare providers taking care of you so that they can help you the best way they can. Hope you get relief soon.

  106. hi,thought i would send a up date on treatment,waiting for result of a xray,went physio but as i am still in so much pain she advised me on possitions relieve and have showed me how to use the tens machine,she gave me a good examination as i now have constant pins and needles in thumb and two fingers also some numbness on the top of my hand.I didnt mention to the physio that im having constant head ache on that left side and ringing in my ear could this also be a symptom of a pinched nerve. Thankyou for your advise on my last email

  107. Hi Joe, pins and needles and muscle weakness are symptoms of nerve conditions. The key is to find the source of the irritation which can be anywhere along the path of the nerve. Another specialist in the area is a neurologist who is more specific to nerve conditions and muscle weakness if your not getting your desired result. I hope you get to the bottom of your problem soon.

  108. Hi Coz, if the source of pain is from a pinched nerve at the neck going down to the arm then the pain can last longer compared to how to quick it started. Hopefully the physio will be able to give some mechanical relief to the muscles and spine whilst the medication is trying to calm the pain down chemically. You never know with nerve pain I have seen it pass quickly as well in some people.

  109. hi,have been in severe pain from top of left side of spine,shoulder going to all of left hand,fingers constantly.After breaking down in front of my doctor for the second time in a week,sleeping is just getting terrible and lacking.doctor has precribed 2co-dydramol 500mg 4 times aday,dihydrocodeine 30mg 1 3 times aday and Amitriptyline 25mg twice aday.phycio to come.Im so fedup as im a community heathcare assistant and worried that this has laid me off work.will this go as quick as it came?

  110. Hi, just stumbled across your website, I have been suffering with loss of strength/ grip in my right hand (thumb and index finger) for about three years and following a test for capal tunnel syndrome (negative) and a consultation meeting with an orthopedic consultant I was told that there was nothing wrong with my hand/forearm and I would regain strength in my hand without treatment. I have since started suffering with intermittant pain in my forearm, pins and needles, fingers triggering which has been keeping me awake at night. Every now and then I have terrible pain in my left shoulder. I went back to my GP and this week had another test for CTS (negative) and am due to meet NHS consultant next week. I have read similar comments on this website and at last feel I can ‘point’ the consultant towards the cause and discuss some rapid treatment.

  111. I just wanted to say thankyou the information you have given was very easy to read and understand.As well as getting professional help i can now help myself as well.

  112. I had sudden neck shoulder and arm chronic pain two weeks ago, screaming in pain. Have had xrays showed nothing, went to a healer, no joy, reflexology, no joy. Am now on per day 8 paracetamol, 8 tramadol, 3 diclofenic and two x 10 mg of amitriptyline (an antidepressant with side effect helps nerve pain). when take these over 24 hours the pain gone as long as I take the next dose no later than 6 hours time. I am seeing an orthopedic specialist next week as dont want to be on these drugs for any length of time.

  113. I have had from time to time problemes with my trapped nerve in my neck and left arm. Over the past eight years, i can tell you it is the worse pain i have ever had. i was sent for a MRI whcih confrimed this and had Physio for at least 4 week, and also used a tens machine which i found helpfull. I also had great pain relief form acupuncture. At that time i think i would have tried anything to stop the pain even if only for a short time. best of luck

  114. been told i have a trapped nerve in my back, Started months ago as just pins and needles in my fingers, then started shooting pains up my arm, I went to the doctor who suggested possible carpel tunnel syndrome. I began getting severe pain and stiffness in my shoulder blades in the mornings for a week or so, that seemed to ease later in the day, forever the stubborn one, i never mentioned it. Then one morning i woke up with the most excruciating pain i had ever experienced, that hasnt let up since. I went to the doctor and was told it was just muscle tension and given mild painkillers. Two days later i was back and this time they did blood tests and x rays, and uped my painkillers, none of which made any difference. i went to the chiropractor, who pulled me about in all directions, but did nothing to help. I have no idea where to go from here now. My sympathies with you all as i’m sure it’s driving you all as nuts as it is me.

  115. ive had neck pain that goes down my right arm my thump and 1 finger are numb and four arm and elbo feel like someone is driving a hot spike into it pain pills are not working been like this for about 2 weeks

  116. In rugby you can also get a nerve injury called a “stinger”. Sounds like yours was a transient symptom, which is a good thing. An examination by your GP or the rugby club healthcare professional would help you understand as to how things are around your neck. Hope your having a good season.

  117. Thanks D for the comment. I will be doing a piece on medication for nerve pain soon after attending a pain symposium and hearing from profs and doctors what the protocol usually is. Hope you got to enjoy some of Brazil.

  118. Hello again, I have now finished with the physio. I am driving again, and ironing etc. But still have the awful pain in my head.Worse when i get up in the mornings, and still bad at night. My shoulder still painful, but i can cope with that. I am seeing the Doctor on Friday, and ask why i didnt have the traction that was suggested to me. Meanwhile i just keep taking the pain relief!

  119. i have had the symptoms you described but also without the pins and needles, i got the injury from a rugby match a fortnight ago and the pain was terrible for a week or so, but in the second week i have felt better and now i feel almost completely fine.
    i was considering playing this saturday, do you think this is wise, or should i see my GP?

  120. After much pain, anti inflammatories, co-deine and paracetamol, nothing has alleviated the pain I am in, I am on holiday by a beach with peace and quiet hoping that the warmth of the sun and fresh air with gentle walking and rest would help but Ive been in agony especially at night. Keeping moving does help but howlong can you keep moving for? Having an MRI soon, my osteopath says its a trapped nerve in neck due to kyakking and capsizing and getting whiplash. Just found this site, thanks for all the useful info, keep it coming. D in a sunny and painful Brazil

  121. I am now having “pressure” acupunture and the Physio also suggegested that i have traction. On Thursday she did some “head pulling” i sat there, and had to relax, while she pulled my head up etc.(and that was instant relief!) I noticed a big differencewith the pain on the Friday, and at the moment, i dont seem as bad. I had no pain relief at all yesterday, i am not saying, i am pain free, but i havent the horrendous “toothache ” pain, and my shoulder etc, seems a lot better. The Physio i am having, is from the Hospital (N.H.S) So it it is worth, asking your Doc, to be recomended.-I will keep updating. Thank You~~~~Jacqui

  122. Tagen it is a shame to hear you can’t ride properly and even got sacked cos of the pain. A NSAID medication, like naproxen, is the first line of drugs most people are prescribed for any pain. Unfortunately sounds like you got one of the side-effects of taken NSAID’s which is an irritable gastro-intestinal system and bleeding. I have been reading today about nerve pain medication and looks like the there is no clear consensus as to which drugs or combination to take to help the nerve pain. I have seen patients get relief and some not with any medication. So looks like it can be a trial thing to see which medication combination works best and at what dosages. I hope your GP or whoever prescribed the meds are reviewing you especially with the bleeding issue. Maybe you should be looking at the other alternative meds other than NSAID’s or if it has to be an anti-inflammatory then what they call a COX-2 inhibitor.

  123. Read my comment to Rob G above……i am also taking naproxen.Dont take them too long though or make sure you take lanzoprasol with them….i am now experiencing bleeding in my back passage.They think its caused by the naproxen causing a problem to the lining of my stomach

  124. Hi Rob,your present symptoms sound just like mine.I was lifting a box at work,the box split and went to ground while my arm went up.I didnt think anything of it at the time.But the next morn i was experiencing pain,the next day was worse and so on until the w/end.I then went to the a&e as the pain was excruciating(4 days later).When i was asked to lift my arm out to the side that was ok-ish but when they asked me to lwer it ,it was horrendous and cramped right up under the armpit area.I too lean an dget the pins and needles thing.I am constantly in some degree of pain.Some days worse than others.The pain goes from somewhere in my shoulder,down the back of my arm and onto my forearm an thumb and index finger.This has really affected my life.I am a cycling time trialist and now i cant even ride the bike through the painI hope yours only stays as a dull ache and the painkillers help.I am on strong painkillers and they sometimes help.I know i could not grin and bear it and i am used to pain(cycling etc).Drivings a nightmare,computer work the same.Just sitting and trying to rest the arm is also one of the worst moments.I hope this dont last forever.I got the sack from my job because this happened.Look after yourself and rest as much as you can

  125. Jacqui I do feel sorry for you having had the nerve pain for awhile unfortunately. I hope you get some relief soon. Sounds like you have found that neck pain from a trapped nerve root can be increased or relieved to some degree with bad/good neck posture. Hope you get some relief soon.

  126. I am having the same problems!! I went to an osteiopath who was really good and suggested I get a neck support pillow and an ice pack. it seems to be helping. I also have a physio appt tomorrow and an other appt the the ostieopath. Hope this helps.

  127. Hi, I have had a trapped nerve now for 3months. I put up with it for a while, like you was given ointment off the Doc.(no good!) But have been going to have Physio weekly now. Although i did have acupunture last week, and it did help a little., Iam hopefully having a scan soon. But the Physio has given me tips, how to manage it. You could try this–Make sure that when sitting, you have a rolled up towel behind your neck(support) and your arm resting on a cushion.(when watching t.v)Dont sit for too long–walk about. Also when in bed, have your neck supported with a “rolled” up pillow, this reieves the pain. Also excercise–i.e-lie on your back withrolled up towel behind your neck for support. Gently lower your head down (1″ ) and back up, a few times. This helps also. It is awful, i sympathise. There doesnt seem to be an end to it.I hope i have been some help.Good Luck

  128. i have had a stiff or sore neck on many occasions previously, but this time its been horrendous, with the pain in my arm the worse, during the day i can cope with the pain but at night no matter which way i lie in bed i cannot get comfortable and i am unable to sleep which is making me feel quite unwell. My doctor gave me an ointment rub and naproxen tablets which are not seeming to help! has anyone got any other advice please?

  129. Hello, Its me again. I am now seeing a Physiotherapist every week. She said its definatly a trapped nerve root in my neck causing my severe pain in the right side of my head, and shoulder. I had some sort of Acupunture on Tuesday -felt great the following day. But now back to the usual “toothaching ” pain. I am getting fed up now. As it started, almost 3months ago.She did mention a scan, so will see what happens. Thank You ~~~~~~~~Jacqui

  130. Phil that could be a sign of a trapped nerve in your neck, especially when you straighten it up it can close down the holes where the nerve comes out the vertebrae. Hope you get some relief soon.

  131. i have tingling feeling from my shoulder all down my arm to my thumb when i raise my head up straight.

  132. Hello. I have been diagnosed as having a trapped nerve in my neck. My symptons, are severe pain on the right side, and back of my head. Shoulder, inc. shoulder blade, and if i lift my right arm, it causes the pain in my head to be worse. I am going to see a N.HS Physotherapist, next week. I have had this problem for 5weeks now. I am feeling unwell at times. Sitting, does make it worse.

  133. Hi, just came across your blog and sounds like the problem i have.
    started to have pains about 5 weeks ago in right forearm and started to move in to elbow and back of arm, up in to my shoulder blade and in to my neck,
    at night and first thing in the morning was very painful, had lots of pain killers from doctor(s).
    most of them said tennis elbow but one said trapped/piched nerve in neck, luckly sent to bupa to see specialist and the next day had mri scan,had to wait a week for result,
    hoped it would show something but no it came back clear, booked in for a nerve conduction studie soon.
    but just been to see physo at bupa today and wow after an examination she pressed on a nerve in my neck (right side)which sent pain to all the areas i had been having pain in, all at the same time. she found the problem.
    great now having number of exercises to do, going back next week.
    hopefully phsyo will sort it, if not maybe nerve block injections.
    roll on next week, keep you informed.

  134. I had this pain 4 years ago. Woke up in the morning in complete agony couldn't move my head at all. Went to the chiropractic and got some relief immediately. I had some sort of pain lasting four months. My only relief was putting my arm around the back of my head. The same problem has re-occurred about a month ago but this time its just a dull ache in the shoulder and when i rest on my elbow i get pins and needles in my fingers. Due to the the lack of effective treatments last time i will grin and bear it with a few painkillers and not do anything too strenuous.

  135. when you have this type of 'trapped nerve' and the feelings of pins and needles in fingers is mentioned is also joint pain in index middle and ring finger a symptom- i have pain in base of skull, neck, shoulder but te pain in those 3 fingers and the tenderness on just touching surface of them is surprising – pain lasted about 18 hours now.

  136. Hi Andy, it depends on how bad the inflammation is and any damage to the neck structures. If it is more an inflamed joint, synovial mensicoid entrapment could be a week to 6 weeks sometimes . If it is more a disc source of pain could be a few months unfortunately.

  137. Hello Gary, Description of the symptoms of a trapped nerve suited me perfectly. I've had this before but maybe 10years ago, and I'm sure getting older doesn't help. How long before it subsides naturally without too much outside help please?
    Thank you for a very interesting and informative article. Andy

  138. thank u for replying.
    ive had tests (felt like electric shocks) done from my fingers right up my arms and they all came back negative.
    i hope they find out whats wrong soon thats been almost 4 years now.

    thank you again

  139. Thanks, Daniel. The orthopaedic surgeon would look to see if they could help any disc problems in your brothers neck after looking at the MRI scan. Hope you gets some pain relief soon.

  140. Kim, you could have pain from different sources. The MRI would help to see if the disc between the bones in your neck is a problem, also if there is anything else in the muscles. To solve the pain it would depend on how the problem started and to test you with orthopaedic & neurological tests and the MRI or other tests. So a nerve can either get irritated in the neck or anywhere along the chain to the fingers. I hope you get to the bottom of your pain soon.

  141. hi just read ur nlog and some of it i understtod but other bits i didn't.
    i have been attending the orthapedic clinic for almost 4 years now, i got told i had trapped nerves in my arms- but tests ruled that out, ive got a lot worse over the years and my hands swell, numbness, pins n needles, my neck is so sore now even turning it it is so painful i could cry sometimes, i;m getting sent for a mri scan of my neck to see if the problem is there, the doctor seems to think it's my neck or my spine. sorry for rabbling on :)

  142. Thanks for the quick tips which helps in diagnosing the issue perfectly. My bro is suffering from severe neck pain and had an MRI recently. I should approach orthopedic specialist i.,e Advanced shoulderkneeorthopedics to fix it.

  143. Pain for a week now has made me seek relief.. yours is the only article I've come across to give me any sort of real answer.. thank you so much..
    Jayne

  144. Hi Paul,glad you enjoyed the article.It is such a common problem having a meniscoid entrapment.Remember like I said if it gets worse or pain or sensation in the arm gets worse you may need to see a healthcare professional like a chiro.I will be writing more on nerve problems for sure.GK

  145. Hi Paul,glad you enjoyed the article.It is such a common problem having a meniscoid entrapment.Remember like I said if it gets worse or pain or sensation in the arm gets worse you may need to see a healthcare professional like a chiro.I will be writing more on nerve problems for sure.GK

  146. Firstly i would like to say thank u for putting together some concise decent information. Theres alot on the net that makes either no sense or just not very detailed.I have synovial meniscoid entrapment on the left side of my neck and have found from a little feel around and applying mild pressure to certain areas that once i find the spot to the left of my spinal chord on my neck and apply mild pressure i get around 25% more movement from my neck with little or no pain. So if i need to get around the house i apply mild pressure whilst i move around. This is accompanied by deep heat spray or cream as well.Hoping this will go soon. I hear roughly a week to self right its-self. Any other hints and tips would be great.

  147. Firstly i would like to say thank u for putting together some concise decent information. Theres alot on the net that makes either no sense or just not very detailed.I have synovial meniscoid entrapment on the left side of my neck and have found from a little feel around and applying mild pressure to certain areas that once i find the spot to the left of my spinal chord on my neck and apply mild pressure i get around 25% more movement from my neck with little or no pain. So if i need to get around the house i apply mild pressure whilst i move around. This is accompanied by deep heat spray or cream as well.Hoping this will go soon. I hear roughly a week to self right its-self. Any other hints and tips would be great.

  148. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Susan

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