The following factors may increase your risk of experiencing a pinched nerve:
- Posture. Poor posture adds pressure to your spine and nerves.
- Sex. Women are more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome, possibly due to having smaller carpal tunnels.
- Bone spurs. Trauma or a condition that causes bone thickening, such as osteoarthritis, can cause bone spurs. Bone spurs can stiffen the spine as well as narrow the space where your nerves travel, pinching nerves.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis can compress nerves, especially in your joints.
- Thyroid disease. People with thyroid disease are at higher risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Other risk factors include:
Jan. 02, 2014
- Diabetes. People with diabetes are at higher risk of nerve compression.
- Overuse. Jobs or hobbies that require repetitive hand, wrist or shoulder movements, such as assembly line work, increase your likelihood of a pinched nerve.
- Obesity. Excess weight can add pressure to nerves.
- Pregnancy. Water and weight gain associated with pregnancy can swell nerve pathways, compressing your nerves.
- Heredity. Some people appear to be genetically predisposed to conditions that lead to pinched nerves.
- NINDS pinched nerve information page. National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/pinchednerve/pinchednerve.htm?css. Accessed Sept. 12, 2013.
- Nerve compression syndromes. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/musculoskeletal_and_connective_tissue_disorders/hand_disorders/nerve_compression_syndromes.html?qt=&sc=&alt=. Accessed Sept. 11, 2013.
- Overview of upper extremity peripheral nerve syndromes. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 11, 2013.
- Rutkove SB. Overview of lower extremity peripheral nerve syndromes. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 11, 2013.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/carpal_tunnel/detail_carpal_tunnel.htm. Accessed Sept. 11, 2013.
- Kothari MJ. Etiology of carpal tunnel syndrome. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 11, 2013.
- Cervical radiculopathy (pinched nerve). American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00332. Accessed Sept. 12, 2013.
- Piecyk ML, et al. Neurologic manifestations of rheumatoid arthritis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 12, 2013.
- Miller TT, et al. Nerve entrapment syndromes of the elbow, forearm and wrist. American Journal of Roentgenology. 2010;195:585.