What Is a Pinched Nerve?
The spine is made up of 33 bones called vertebrae and divided into four regions: cervical (neck), thoracic (mid back), lumbar (lower back), and sacrum. The vertebrae surround the spinal cord, a thick band of nerve tissue that runs through the spine, providing 360o of protection. Each vertebral body has openings called foramen for nerves branching off the spinal cord to exit the spine and run to the hands, legs, torso, and other locations in the body. Pinched nerve is an umbrella term for any spinal condition that compresses nerves exiting the spine and causes symptoms in the region that particular spinal nerve exits to. This can include structural problems like disc herniation, spondylolisthesis, and disc degeneration or the formation of bone spurs, cysts in the spine joints, or tumors. These problems can cause narrowing of the foramen on the vertebral bodies, leading to symptoms below.
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