A nerve may be under pressure from a soft tissue structure, or simply from adopting a particular posture, also known as a “trapped nerve”. Pressure on the nerve temporarily stops the nerve from functioning and, if left untreated, the function of the nerve may potentially be permanently lost:
- My arm or leg has “gone to sleep” – this is a good example that many of us have experienced. Sleeping in an awkward position, perhaps with the elbow, knee or hip fully bent, squeezes the nerves around the joint. On waking the arm may feel ‘dead’ and only straightening the arm and moving it around brings it back to life and normal sensations return.
- Sciatica – this is where one of the shock absorbing discs in the spine is damaged or inflamed and pushes onto one of the nerves exiting the spinal column.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – as the nerves that supply the hand pass through the wrist, there is a fibrous band that holds all the structures in place. If this becomes tight or there is swelling or inflammation underneath the fibrous band, pressure can occur on the nerves supplying the hand and numbness can result.