Who is more likely to develop a “pinched nerve”?

Some people have neck pain that spreads into the shoulder and down the arm. This pain is often caused by damage near the root of the spinal nerve. A nerve root injury is from time to time called a “pinched nerve”. The medical name for a “pinched nerve” is “cervical radiculopathy”.

Age has an impact on the state of the disks in your back. Over time they become smaller and begin to swell. They also lose water content and become dryer and inflexible. As the disks get smaller, the vertebrae shift closer together. The collapsed disk can then be seen as a weak area and responds by forming more bone around the disk area to strengthen it. The collapsed disk in turn contributes to the stiffening of the spine. Collapsed disks may also narrow the area of the forearm and pinch the nerve.

Arthritis or spondylitis, are two types of disk changes that occur with age.  However, these changes are considered “normal” and they occur in most old age or middle-aged people, male and female.  Worn disks happen to everyone eventually, as they get older, from fifty upwards they tend to disintegrate or wear down. These worn disks can lead to “pinched nerves” but not cause painful symptoms. Why some patients have symptoms and others do not is still being researched and is not really known.

Pain travelling down the arm in the nerve area, usually described as a sharp pain or the sensation of “pins and needles” or complete numbness is another common feeling experienced.  This is normally due to inactivity by the person and the reason why older people would get this than younger people.  Extending or straining your neck or turning your head can make this worse. Stretching your shoulders and placing your hands over your head can lessen this pain or feeling. Find out more about a pinched nerve in shoulder, and about bulging disc treatment.