What Does Nerve Pain Feel Like?

Nerve pain often affects all people differently.   Some patients feel just numbness and loose sensitivity in their finger tips. They start dropping things more regularly than normal and feeling clumsy and are unable to do simple tasks like buttoning a button or twisting a lid off a jar.

Other patients feel a pins and needles sensation like their hand or foot is “falling asleep”.

Still other patients describe an intense burning sensation like their hands or wrists are catching fire.

what does nerve pain feel likeSome describe excruciating pain to the point that they feel the urge to cut off their arms.

Patients also describe shooting electrical-like shocks going up their arm or down their fingers that feel like they hit their “funny bone” on the edge of a door jam.

Some describe a dull achy feeling in their muscles, as if they have an injured the muscle.   Often muscles control is lost and muscles don’t respond in a normal way.

Different patients report different aspects of all of the above sensations in different parts of their body along the nerve path. In the case of Carpal Tunnel that nerve path starts at the finger tips and runs through the hands, wrists, arms, elbows, shoulders and even the neck.

One thing is consistent, the symptoms associated with a nerve condition are usually intense and can be extremely frustrating.

An experience most people can easily relate to is a trip to the dentist office. In the mouth there are so many nerve endings to facilitate taste, feel and smell that any dental treatment can be extremely annoying, uncomfortable and painful. This is due to the dental procedures being done so close to multiple nerves. Any time nerves are disturbed, it can trigger intense sensations of pain, numbness or electrical shock as described above.

Sometimes, nerve pain almost feels like torture to the patient. The chronic nature of some nerve conditions like CTS can lead to anxiety and even depression due to the sense of inadequacy, the consistent frustration and loss of control encountered with nerve conditions.  Combine these feelings with routine sleep deprivation, which is so common with Carpal Tunnel and you have a potential train wreck emotionally.

This nerve condition often results in irritability, impatience and lack of tolerance of even the slightest irritation.   People overreact to little annoyances they ordinarily would ignore.   This behavior is common with CTS and can damage important relationships at home and at work. People with nerve pain are typically on edge. It is important to get this nerve syndrome under control, before if affects you social network of family, friends and colleagues at work.

This behavior combined with the clumsiness can also affect the way people perceive you as a productive person at work.

The symptoms of a pinched nerve, regardless of location of the body have some common signals. We have helped thousands of people to self-diagnosis while they are waiting for their doctor’s visit. We can help you too. Here are some of the different ways people have described their discomfort from the Median Nerve being pinched in the Carpal Tunnel.

  • Numbness (like when your foot “falls asleep”)
  • Tingling sensation (some people call it a “pins and needles sensation”)
  • Pain radiating from the source to another part of the body (like sciatica in which the pain radiates down the leg from the lower back)
  • Pulsing Electrical shock sensations or vibrations following the nerve path
  • Burning sensation
  • Increased discomfort when force is exerted such as hammering, lifting, twisting, grabbing, pounding, etc.
  • Pain in the proximate joints following the nerve path back to the spinal cord or cortex.
  • Unexplained sudden weakness in the proximate muscle.
  • Dull ache in the surrounding muscular tissue.
  • Tight muscles that are in flexion even when at rest.
  • Lack of feeling when touching something or when you are touched by somebody else.
  • Muscle atrophy (diminished muscle mass) is the result of prolonged untreated nerve that is consistently pinched without relief and without the appropriate treatment.

You can learn more about the Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve in the Carpal Tunnel