Pinched Nerve causes stroke like symptoms?

by Weebee Weebee, LVN Member

Specializes in Med/Surg - E.R. - Pediatrics. Has 6 years experience.

A friend of mine was hospitalized for stroke like symptoms... When I asked what the doctors have said, He and his wife stated "They said it was a pinched nerve in my neck" However he also stated (see below) 80% loss of mobility in his (entire) left side. Below is part of what he told me after I stated to him a neck injury would not effect your entire left side.

"I have spent a total of one year in physical therapy. I have gone through specialist after specialist all giving their 2 sense. I had a CVA Jan 08. Cause no one seems to know. I have lost up to 80% of mobility in the left side of my body. Its there and its real. At this point I am grasping at straws. If anyone you know has better suggestions please have them enlighten me. The last thing I need is another mechanic flipping the top and having me spend thousands to tell me "Stop wearing your pants too tight."

Question:Have any of you nurses heard of a "pinched" nerve giving ENTIRE left or right side loss of mobility?

If so please en-lighten me. I mean how can a pinch nerve in the cervical or even thoracic spin, cause loss of mobility in both the upper and lower limbs but only effect one side of the body?

NOTE: Although he stated a CVA in 08, he recovered fully (after having left side loss of mobility). After hospitalization this year, MRI,CT and X-ray all of the head were negative.

Edited by Weebee
Added a NOTE

Whispera, MSN, RN

Specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education. 3,458 Posts

Picture where the nerve branches come off the spinal cord. There could be a major one that controls one entire side of the body, depending on where it originated. It could originate in the neck I would think. I'm visualizing the spinal cord and its branches and don't have an exact picture in mind, but I do think what your friend says is the problem, is possible



Specializes in Perinatal, Education. Has 9 years experience. 640 Posts

I have had a pinched nerve in my neck (C5-6) that gave my weakness and loss of function in my arm for a while, but my leg was not affected. I have another issue in my lower bag where my leg is affected, but it is a different origin out of my spine. I don't know if your entire side can be affected by one space.


Weebee, LVN

Specializes in Med/Surg - E.R. - Pediatrics. Has 6 years experience. 67 Posts

Going back to my Anatomy Class, I cant recall a nerve that runs the entire lenght of the body. In fact the reason we call Cervical, Thoracic and Lumbar was because each one controlled a different area.

Cervical (above the neck, eyes mouth cheek tongue etc.)

Thoracic (Torso - Arms, diaphragm etc.)

Lumbar (Legs Feet Pelvic)

This is why I have difficulty believing one nerve covers from neck to foot. Its just not anatomically correct.

Or am I missing something here?:hdvwl::hdvwl:

Whispera, MSN, RN

Specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education. 3,458 Posts

Devil's advocate here, since I really don't know...I looked at the picture in that site....let's say there's a pinched nerve in the spinal column, not one branching off if it. Might that account for your friend's symptoms? I think he or she should ask the doctor to explain it all better.



Has 1 years experience. 60 Posts

yes I have had it happen to me. I went into the ER thinking I had a stroke or somethng (because I lost feeling from my around my breasts down on my left side). The neurologist thought I was crazy. I went for a second opinion to a orthopedic doctor a NP told me about, and I had a pinched nerve and went for physical therapy and it is 95% better

AgentBeast, BSN, RN

Specializes in Cardiology and ER Nursing. Has 9 years experience. 1,974 Posts

Sounds more like spinal stenosis but that should be visible on an x-ray.



Has 1 years experience. 60 Posts

nope everything was fine on my x-ray, spinal tap, and mris,



1 Post

I feel your friends pain, on 9/1 I wen into the ER with complete left side numbness/weakness, couldn't walk. Clean CT, was given TPA and started to regain some strength. I was in the hospital until the 9/16/11 including rehab. I still dont have 100% use of my leg or arm. Its speratic, I am continuing rehab but don't feel that I had a stroke. All tests came back clear including MRI of head and Cervical, My CT of head and all blood work. I'm 32 y/o male, don't smoke, don't drink, never did a drug, low blood pressure, healthy, work an active job. I too would like some answers but for now I just look toward rehab. Thanks


Horseshoe, BSN, RN

5,879 Posts

I have recently had experience with this. I have a bulging disc at C4 which is causing numbness to the right side of my jaw and upper anterior neck. I have a very bad herniation at C6-7 which is causing right arm numbness and weakness. I can move my arm, but it feels very weak and weird. I have a very bad herniation at L5-S1 which is causing right leg numbness and weakness.

All of this has been confirmed via MRI, however.

It is very frustrating and I have a surgical consult scheduled very soon to discuss my options. But I remind myself daily that this is so much better than a stroke.

Seems to me the person discussed in the OP should be able to have scans which verify the "pinched nerve" or rule out a stroke.