The Link Between Pinched Nerves and Joint Pain

Sep 01, 2023
The Link Between Pinched Nerves and Joint Pain
Painful joints can be a side effect of many underlying conditions, including a pinched nerve. Learn what causes a pinched nerve and how the condition contributes to pain in your spine and other joints.

Your joints' ligaments, bones, muscles, and other structures work together to keep you active. When there’s dysfunction in any of these tissues or the nerves surrounding your joints, the resulting pain can slow you down and reduce your quality of life.

At Zephyr Medical, our experienced pain specialists understand how limiting joint pain can be, especially chronic pain. Board-certified pain management specialist Asher Goldstein, MD, takes an integrative approach to identifying and treating the underlying cause of joint pain, including common conditions like pinched nerves. 

We provide nonsurgical solutions to reduce tissue inflammation and nerve irritation to preserve the health and function of your joints. 

Why you might have a pinched nerve

A pinched nerve occurs when nearby tissues or bones press on the root of a nerve. Ongoing nerve compression can irritate the nerve root and trigger inflammation. These issues can lead to sensations like numbness, tingling, pain, and weakness in areas near the pinched nerve.

You might develop a pinched nerve after an injury. Pinched nerves can also occur if you engage in repetitive movements required of certain sports or jobs.

Other risk factors for pinched nerves can include:

  • Aging
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Bone spurs
  • Herniated disc
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

A pinched nerve often heals on its own within a few weeks with rest and over-the-counter anti-inflammatories. However, some pinched nerves can persist and lead to complications like chronic pain and permanent nerve damage (neuropathy).

Linking pinched nerves to joint pain

Pinched nerves can occur just about anywhere in your body but are most common in your neck and lower back. A herniated disc in your back or neck can pressure the nerves near your spinal joints, leading to pinched nerve symptoms.

The joints of your wrist, hand, and elbow are also susceptible to pinched nerves, especially if you work on a computer or do repetitive movements that compress the nerves near these joints. Carpal tunnel syndrome is an example of a nerve compression condition contributing to wrist joint pain.

People with rheumatoid arthritis may be at a higher risk for nerve-related joint pain due to the persistent inflammation the disease causes. Chronic joint inflammation can also cause the loss of joint function and lead to joint deformities if not properly managed.

Pain relief solutions for joint pain from pinched nerves

The goal of treating joint pain triggered by nerve compression is to reduce the inflammation or structural issues that press on the nerve.

Dr. Goldstein and our team may recommend steroid injections that deliver anti-inflammatories directly into the inflamed joint. We also offer nerve blocks that contain anesthetic medications to prevent pain signals from the irritated nerve from traveling to your brain.

When your nerve-related joint pain is severe or debilitating, you might be a candidate for radiofrequency ablation. This minimally invasive treatment uses radiofrequency energy to destroy inflamed or damaged nerves and relieve pain.

You may benefit from physical therapy and daily exercises to prevent further flare-ups of joint pain. Our team can show you various exercises that keep the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your joints strong and flexible.

Call Zephyr Medical in Brooklyn, New York, to schedule a consultation for persistent joint pain, or book a consultation online today.