Nerve Compression Syndromes

Nerve compression syndrome, often referred to as compression neuropathy, is a general term used to describe several types of conditions that involve the compression or entrapment of nerves in the body, particularly in the hand and upper extremities. Entrapped or “pinched” nerves can occur for numerous reasons, including overuse of an upper extremity, trauma or injury, prolonged pressure, and swelling or inflammation in the surrounding tissues. Depending on the cause and specific nerve affected, symptoms can range from mild to severe and may be occasional or persistent. The most common symptoms of a compressed nerve include:
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Pain 
  • Muscle Weakness

What We Treat

Without treatment, nerve compression syndromes can potentially worsen and may cause permanent nerve damage. Seeking timely medical intervention is crucial to alleviate symptoms, prevent progression, and preserve optimal hand and upper extremity function.

Nerve Compression Syndromes of the Wrist


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is the compression of the median nerve at the wrist, leading to symptoms in the hand and fingers.

Guyon's Canal Syndrome

Guyon’s Canal Syndrome is the compression of the ulnar nerve at the wrist, resulting in weakness and numbness in the hand and fingers.


Nerve Compression Syndromes of Arm


Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Cubital tunnel syndrome is the compression of the ulnar nerve at the elbow, causing symptoms like tingling and numbness in the ring and little fingers.

Pronator Teres Syndrome

Pronator Teres Syndrome is the compression of the median nerve in the forearm, causing pain, weakness, and numbness in the forearm, hand, and fingers.

Radial Tunnel Syndrome

Radial tunnel syndrome is the compression of the radial nerve in the forearm, leading to pain and weakness in the forearm and hand.



Treatments for Nerve Compression Syndromes

Treatments for nerve compression syndromes are typically approached with a multifaceted strategy, tailored to individual needs. Whether through surgical interventions, non-surgical therapies, or a combination of both, the goal is to relieve pressure on affected nerves, repair any damage, and enhance overall limb or hand function. 

Non-Surgical Treatments

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy focuses on exercises and techniques to improve strength, flexibility, and range of motion. Therapists work to alleviate symptoms by targeting specific muscles to reduce pressure on affected nerves.



Over-the-counter or prescribed medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, or pain relievers might be used to manage pain, inflammation, and discomfort associated with nerve compression. In some cases, neuropathic medications may be prescribed to manage nerve-related pain.


Splinting or Bracing

Wearing braces or splints can help alleviate pressure on nerves by keeping the affected area in a proper position, reducing strain and allowing for healing. For instance, wrist splints are often used in carpal tunnel syndrome to keep the wrist in a neutral position, relieving pressure on the median nerve.


Steroid Injections

Corticosteroid injections can help reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms by targeting specific areas of nerve compression. These injections are often used in conditions like sciatica or certain types of nerve entrapment to provide temporary relief.

Surgical Treatments

Nerve Decompression Surgery

Nerve decompression surgery involves relieving pressure on compressed nerves. Surgeons identify the site of entrapment and remove any structures constricting the nerve to improve comfort and function.


Nerve Graft

Nerve grafting involves repairing nerve damage by taking a healthy nerve from another part of the body and using it to bridge the gap in a damaged nerve. This technique is often used in cases where trauma or injury causes nerve compression that impedes function and sensation in the affected limb, hand, or fingers.


Nerve Transfer

Nerve transfer involves redirecting a healthy nerve to replace a damaged nerve. Surgeons carefully rewire nerves to bypass the injured area, allowing restored function. This technique may be used if direct repair or grafting isn’t feasible and helps to restore function in specific muscles or areas affected by nerve compression.


Targeted Muscle Reinnervation (TMR)

TMR is an innovative surgical technique where nerves from an amputated limb are rerouted to remaining muscles. This allows amputees to control prosthetic devices by thought, improving function and potentially reducing phantom limb pain resulting from the amputation.


Joint Denervation

Joint denervation involves disrupting or removing nerves around a joint to alleviate chronic pain associated with conditions like arthritis, joint disorders, and nerve compression. By interrupting pain signals, joint denervation can provide relief and improve joint function.


Tendon Transfer Surgery

If nerve compression causes muscle weakness, tendon transfer surgery may be used to enhance function. This procedure involves transferring a healthy tendon from one area of the body to another to compensate for weakened or paralyzed muscles, improving overall hand or limb function.



Find relief and restore function in your hand.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the common causes of nerve compression syndromes?
Nerve compression syndromes often result from repetitive motions, overuse, injury, or conditions like arthritis, cysts, or anatomical variations that put pressure on nerves, leading to entrapment or compression.
What are the risk factors for developing nerve compression syndromes?

Risk factors include occupations involving repetitive hand or wrist movements, underlying health conditions like diabetes or thyroid disorders, obesity, pregnancy, and certain hobbies or sports activities that strain the upper extremities.

How are nerve compression syndromes diagnosed?

Diagnosis typically involves a physical examination, reviewing medical history, and sometimes nerve conduction studies or electromyography (EMG) to assess nerve function. Imaging tests like MRI or ultrasound may be used to identify the site and extent of nerve compression.

What can I expect in the long term after treatment for nerve compression syndromes?

The long-term prognosis varies depending on factors like the severity of the condition, timely intervention, adherence to treatment, and individual response to therapies. With appropriate treatment, many patients experience significant improvement in symptoms and functionality, especially when treatment is sought early.

Can nerve compression syndromes be completely cured?

In many cases, symptoms can be effectively managed and alleviated with treatment, reducing pain and improving function. However, complete resolution might not always be achievable, especially in advanced or long-standing cases.

Are there lifestyle changes or preventive measures to avoid nerve compression syndromes?

Yes, adopting ergonomic practices, taking breaks during repetitive tasks, maintaining proper posture, avoiding prolonged pressure on the affected area, and practicing exercises that strengthen and stretch the muscles can help prevent or reduce the risk of developing nerve compression syndromes.

Is surgery the only option for treating nerve compression syndromes?

No, surgical intervention is one option among various treatments. Non-surgical approaches like physical therapy, medications, bracing, or injections are often effective, especially in mild to moderate cases. The choice of treatment depends on the specific condition and its severity, among other factors.