Signs & symptoms of a pinched nerve in upper back

Written by constance barker
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
Signs & symptoms of a pinched nerve in upper back
A pinched nerve in the upper back can cause many symptoms. (bare back image by msw from

Nerves are located all over our body, running from the spine to the brain and out to the farthest reaches of our bodies. Over time, the bones, cartilage and discs in our spine wear down from improper posture, injuries or physical demands from our jobs. Discs and cartilage deteriorate, pinching nerves along the spinal column. Since nerves branch out from the spinal column, the symptoms of the pinched nerve are felt anywhere along the pathway of that nerve.

Other People Are Reading


A pinched nerve in the upper part of your spine may cause numbness in sections of your arm, hand or fingers. The nerve carries sensations of feelings that run to your brain and cause you to feel hot, cold or pain. When a nerve is suppressed or pinched, its ability to feel sensations is compromised. What follows is a numb sensation in segments of the nerve's path. The numbness may come and go depending on the amount of inflammation and swelling surrounding the nerve at any given time.


When a nerve is pinched in the upper back area, pain normally occurs in other areas of the body. The neck, shoulder and arm may feel bolts of electric shooting pain that may increase or decrease depending on how you move your upper back area. Pain between the shoulder blades may also occur. A burning pain may also present itself along the pathway of the pinched nerve as inflammation develops. Coughing and sneezing may increase the pain in the upper back and neck.


A pinched nerve may cause weakness to develop in the areas the nerve travels. In the upper back region, a nerve may run down into the arm and hands. You may feel the muscles in one arm and hand are weaker than the other, not able to lift, grasp or hold onto items. The weakness, like the numbness and pain, may fluctuate as the swelling and inflammation increase or decrease around the nerve. A pinched nerve may also cause muscle twitching or spasms.

Pins and Needles

A feeling of pins and needles attacking your arm or hand or that "falling asleep" sensation may be from a pinched nerve in the upper back. The sensation might hit when performing certain activities such as typing or writing and you feel a needle type pricking feeling dart through the fingers on one hand. You may also experience these sensations while trying to sleep.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.