A pinched nerve is a nerve that has become irritated or compressed. The nerve is not necessarily pinched, but people use this term to refer to a range of symptoms. A pinched nerve can occur at various sites in the body, including the neck. When it affects the neck, doctors call it cervical radiculopathy.
A person with a pinched nerve in the neck may experience tingling, numbness, or weakness in their neck, shoulders, hands, or arms. Pinched nerves often appear with age or due to arthritis or wear and tear on the spine.
Many people with pinched nerves are reluctant to exercise because of pain and tingling. However, staying still can actually make the pain worse because it can cause tension and wasting in nearby muscles.