Pinched nerves are painful and plague millions of Americans throughout their lives. A pinched nerve can cause pain almost anywhere in your body. They occur when pressure is placed on a nerve or nerve root, impairing its function. The pressure can be caused by any of the surrounding tissues including bones, cartilage, muscles, and tendons. The uncomfortable tingling, pain, numbness, and weakness can interfere with daily life.
Freedom Health Centers wants to help free you from the unrelenting pain and discomfort caused by pinched nerves. Our staff has successfully treated many patients who’ve suffered from pinched nerves. We want to help relieve your pain and get your life back on track in a safe and gentle way.
What Causes Pinched Nerves?
Pinched nerves can be caused by a number of issues at various sites throughout your body. A herniated disk in the spine is a frequent cause of pinched nerves. Anytime that a nerve suffers from too much compression from the surrounding tissues it can cause pinched nerve symptoms. The surrounding tissues may be placing pressure on your nerves for a variety of reasons. This could be due to injuries, repetitive motions, or health conditions. People who are over-weight or suffer from arthritis are more susceptible to pinched nerves. Many women experience the pain from a pinched nerve during pregnancy as well.
Nerves that are subjected to compression for a short time don’t usually suffer from permanent damage. Once the problem is corrected then the nerves begin to function normally again. However, if left untreated then the compression can lead to permanent nerve damage. This ultimately can cause permanent problems with sensations and function.
Risk Factors for Pinched Nerves
Anyone can suffer from a pinched nerve. However, there are risk factors that make you more susceptible. Women, in general, are more likely to suffer from pinched nerves. Conditions such as osteoarthritis which cause bone spurs also increase your chances of developing pinched nerves. Disorders which cause inflammation such as rheumatoid arthritis can also easily compress nerves. Additional risk factors include:
- Prolonged Inactivity
Symptoms of Pinched Nerves
People who suffer from pinched nerves often feel the same symptoms that you feel when your arm “falls asleep.” This can include pins and needles sensations, tingling, and numbness. Many people also report pain that can be sharp, aching, burning, or radiating. Prolonged pinched nerves may include symptoms such as muscle weakness.
While pinched nerve pain is often the worst at night, it can also greatly impair you during the day. Depending on which nerves are affected, you may have difficulty walking, driving, or performing work duties. If your symptoms last multiple days without lessening with rest, then you will want to consult your chiropractor.
Diagnosing Pinched Nerves
During your chiropractic appointment, your chiropractor will perform a physical exam while asking about your symptoms. If they suspect that you have a pinched nerve then they will use diagnostic tests.
A nerve conduction study may be done to measure the electrical impulses in your muscles and nerves. This is done through electrodes which are placed on your skin. This can tell your doctor if your nerve has been damaged or isn’t functioning correctly. Your chiropractor may also use an electromyography test along with an MRI to further evaluate your condition. In some cases they may also us a high-resolution ultrasound to diagnose nerve compression.
Treating Pinched Nerves
Chiropractic care is one of the best ways to relieve the pain caused by pinched nerves. Most pinched nerves occur due to compression in the spinal column. This commonly occurs when the spine is out of alignment. Your chiropractor can perform a series of adjustments to realign your spine and reduce the compression.
In addition to chiropractic care, you may be asked to stop activities that are causing or worsening your condition until the treatment is complete. In some cases, your chiropractor may recommend a splint or brace to help immobilize the area while you heal.
Chiropractic treatment plans are commonly used in conjunction with physical therapy. A physical therapist will help you learn exercises that are designed to strengthen and stretch key muscles. This will help relieve pressure on the nerve while strengthening muscles in order to prevent a reoccurrence. Your chiropractor and physical therapist can also help you learn how to exercise and perform work functions in a way that will protect your spine and reduce the likelihood of developing pinched nerves.
Chiropractic care and physical therapy are great treatment options because they are effective and noninvasive. There are virtually no side effects from this form of treatment. You also avoid the extended recovery time that you would otherwise have from surgery. Chiropractors and physical therapists make a great team for issues affecting your musculoskeletal system.
Preventing Pinched Nerves
While it may not always be possible to prevent pinched nerves, there are things you can do to lower your risk. For example, maintaining good posture goes a long way. Most Americans these days have poor posture. Your body is designed to work a specific way. If you aren’t holding your body correctly then simple activities can cause problems. Practice good posture and strengthen your back and core to help prevent back problems and pinched nerves.
Staying active can also help lower your risk. Immobility can weaken muscles and put stress on joints. Be careful to not stay in one position for too long. Adding strength training and flexibility exercises to your routine can help keep your body performing well. Exercising can also help you maintain a healthy weight, which is important to the healthy function of your spine.
It’s also important to limit repetitive activities, especially if they cause tension or pain in your body. If you aren’t able to limit the activities then take frequent breaks and stretch often to prevent injuries. Be mindful of the types of activities that may contribute to your pinched nerve. Your doctor will be able to advise you further on how to prevent a reoccurrence of your specific issue.
Keep the lines of communication open between you and your chiropractor or physical therapist. Ask questions when you have them and listen to their advice. These people are expertly trained to treat pinched nerves and other conditions. Use their knowledge to help protect your body.