Pinched Nerve

Pinched nerves are incredibly painful. They will also get inflamed and swollen which in turn puts more pressure on the nerve. A quick diagnosis and treatments are extremely important.

Pinched Nerve

What causes a pinched nerve?

A pinched nerve occurs when pressure or chemical irritation causes reduced circulation and swelling within a nerve. The result is numbing, tingling, or burning pain that usually travels into other body areas. 

The most common causes of pinched nerves in the spine include disc bulges and spinal stenosis. When pain results from a pinched nerve in the spine, it is called a radiculopathy. Sciatica is a common example of a radiculopathy from the low back. 

Peripheral nerve entrapments are another type of pinched nerve; however, they occur in the extremities. Carpal tunnel is an excellent example of nerve entrapment. Pinched nerve entrapments can also happen in the shoulder, hip, elbow, and ankle.

What is the best treatment for a pinched nerve?

There are several options for treating pinched nerves. The best treatment will depend on the location and severity of the pinched nerve. Although treatments can overlap, therapies for pinched nerves in the back are usually different than therapies for nerve entrapments.

Other considerations are personal factors such as alignment, muscle imbalances, and fascial and joint restrictions. Also, some people respond more or less favorably to different therapies. For example, decompression therapy has incredible results for many people with disc bulges. However, not everyone with a disc bulge responds as well to decompression. 

Standard treatments for pinched nerves include nerve flossing, spinal adjustments, myofascial release, decompression, and rehabilitation. If the pain is recent with acute inflammation, anti-inflammatory medication and ice may provide relief. 

Treatment for a pinched nerve in the spine

There are three considerations when treating a pinched nerve in the neck or low back. First is controlling the inflammation and attempting to reduce nerve swelling. Some people choose a medical approach, utilizing anti-inflammatory drugs. Other options are anti-inflammatory diets, stress management, and getting adequate rest and recovery. 

The second consideration is addressing the mechanical component and promoting a healing response. Decompression therapy creates more space between the spine, taking pressure off the nerve. Nerve flossing is a technique that gently mobilizes the nerve precisely in the injured area, promoting circulation. Other therapies, such as spinal manipulation and myofascial release, relax tight muscles and joints to help align the spine. 

Finally, rehabilitation is necessary to strengthen around the injury. If joints and discs are not protected, healing could take longer than necessary. The other benefit of rehabilitation is to minimize the risk of injuring the nerve again.

Do pinched nerves require surgery?

The majority of pinched nerves will heal with appropriate therapies and time. Surgery is sometimes necessary in severe cases that don't respond to treatments. A consultation with a neurosurgeon is recommended in patients that continue to get worse, especially if muscle strength starts to deteriorate. 

Nerve entrapment

Nerve entrapments such as carpal tunnel syndrome will cause pain, numbness, or tingling in the area of the pinched nerve that radiates pain up the arm or leg. These peripheral pinched nerves become compressed near sites where the nerve passes through muscle or fibrous tissue. If left untreated, nerve damage may result in weakness of the limb. 

Treatment for carpal tunnel

Carpal tunnel syndrome is treated using a combination of nerve mobilizations, stretches, and myofascial release. Nerve mobilizations isolate the involved nerve, gently stretching and relaxing as a way to increase circulation deep within the nerve. Traditional myofascial release and stretches help relax surrounding muscles and connective tissue. Acupuncture is another therapy that has been successful in treating carpal tunnel syndrome. It is thought that acupuncture works by stimulating a healing response near the nerve while also reflexively relieving pain.

Chiropractor that treats pinched nerves

Our chiropractors combine proven therapies that facilitate a healing response within nerves. The best treatment for pinched nerves involves a personalized approach utilizing various therapies described above. Addressing body alignment, muscle imbalances, and joint restrictions throughout the entire body additionally help with recovery.

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