People talk about, “pinched nerves” all the time when describing back and neck pain. In reality nerves that are truly compressed are rare. In most cases, the nerves are irritated rather than pinched. The difference between a pinched nerve and an irritated nerve in the back is substantial. Irritated nerves in the back can cause sharp pain that radiates into the gluteal, thigh and leg regions. While irritated nerves are quite painful, they respond well to treatments like chiropractic care, nerve flossing and rehabilitation exercises. Irritated nerves do rarely become pinched nerves which is a more serious situation. In a pinched nerve blood flow to the nerve is compromised which causes tingling, numbness and weakness in the legs and feet. These symptoms need to be evaluated immediately and may require an MRI or a nerve conduction velocity test to determine the location and severity of compression. Pinched nerves usually respond well to chiropractic treatment. In rare cases, pinched nerves require injections and/or surgical intervention. These are typically only considered if other less risky treatment measures have failed.