Pinched Nerve | Chiropractic | Ravenswood Chiropractic
Chiropractic Care for Pinched Nerves
When you come to our office because you are experiencing pain from a “pinched” nerve, your chiropractic physician will perform a physical exam to determine the likeliest cause of the “pinched” nerve, so that a treatment plan can then be created to address both the cause and your symptoms.
If the “pinched” nerve is caused by a muscle spasm, then physical therapy and massage may address the problem. If the muscle spasm was caused by a joint that is out of place, chiropractic adjustments will be recommended. If a disc injury or something more serious is involved, more aggressive treatment may be needed to address your pain and the cause of your symptoms. In some cases, additional testing such as nerve conduction velocity studies may be indicated to detect signs of nerve injury.
Ordinarily, whatever the cause, proper function returns to the affected nerve once the compression is relieved, which results in the abatement of pain and other symptoms. Short term nerve compression rarely leads to complications, however long-term nerve compression or severe compression left untreated may lead to serious complications, such as chronic pain, permanent nerve damage, and loss of function. That is why, as with most other medical conditions, early diagnosis and treatment is imperative, not only for quick and complete healing and pain relief to occur but to avoid more serious damage.
Current research recommends conservative chiropractic therapy for nerve compression (Pinched Nerves).
“Although the treatment of neuropathic pain is difficult, sufficient evidence in the literature demonstrates that the treatment of nociceptive pain should be multimodal and involve spinal manipulation, muscle lengthening/stretching, trigger point therapy, rehabilitation exercises, electrical modalities, a variety of nutritional factors, and mental/emotional support.” (J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1999;22:458–72)
“It is important to recognize, however, the value of conservative measures, including mobilization and adjustive procedures, which may be specifically directed to the elbow joint and other regions of the upper extremity. Such techniques may assist in reducing restrictive influences comprising the nerve and associated tissues.” (J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1988 Dec;11(6):517
In another study, 6 sessions of nerve-gliding techniques and segmental joint manipulation was used in conjunction with a simple home exercise program to treat cubital tunnel syndrome, “Symptoms did not recur within a 10-month follow-up period, and pain and disability had completely resolved.” (Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 27;9:560-568)
Symptoms Of A Pinched Nerve
Symptoms of a “pinched” nerve may include any or all of the following, localized to the area of the body that the affected nerve supplies:
- Muscle weakness
- Numbness and tingling (“pins and needles”)
- Feeling of an appendage (typically the hand or foot) “falling asleep”
- Burning or hot/cold sensation
- Radiating pain
- Painful muscle spasms
When the “pinched” nerve is coming from the spinal cord, pain may be exacerbated by sneezing or coughing. Regardless of where the “pinched” nerve is located, however, symptoms may also intensify while the person is sleeping.
If rest fails to relieve symptoms of a “pinched” nerve, and the symptoms last for more than a couple of days, it is advised that you seek medical attention immediately. One particularly beneficial form of medical treatment for “pinched” nerves, as you might have guessed, is chiropractic care.
What Is A Pinched Nerve?
Also called “nerve impingement”, a “pinched” nerve is when the tissues surrounding a nerve – like bones, muscles, tendons, cartilage – apply too much pressure (also known as “compression”) to the nerve. This causes inflammation of the nerve, disrupting the signals going to and from the brain, as well as blocking the flow of nutrients meant to nourish the nerve and keep it healthy, active, and strong. When this happens, it progressively impedes the nerve’s ability to transmit those electrical signals to and from the brain, prompting symptoms ranging from weakness to numbness and tingling to severe pain. If left untreated, a “pinched” nerve fiber could eventually die.
Besides compression, constriction and stretching of the nerves can also cause them to become “pinched”.
Causes of this excessive nerve compression, constriction, and stretching vary greatly and may include:
- poor posture
- overuse/repetitive motion
- sports or other physical hobby or activity
Any nerve in your body can become “pinched”. Sciatica, for example, or pain radiating down the back of the leg, is caused by a nerve root in the lower spine becoming pinched by a herniated disc. Another example is carpal tunnel syndrome is responsible for numbness and pain in the fingers and hand, which too is caused by a “pinched” nerve but this time in the wrist. When a nerve in the neck becomes “pinched”, symptoms are usually felt in the hands, arms, or shoulders. When a nerve in the lower back becomes “pinched”, symptoms are usually felt in the legs and feet.
Many conditions, in fact, can cause nerves to become “pinched”, like bone spurs formed from spinal arthritis, and ganglion cysts. Nerves most susceptible to being “pinched” are those that pass through or nearest to bones and other tissues.
Common areas of “pinched” nerves we see in our office include:
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- tarsal tunnel syndrome
- cubital tunnel syndrome
- radial tunnel syndrome
- thoracic outlet syndrome
- complex regional pain syndrome.
- tibial nerve entrapment
- sciatic neuropathy
- common peroneal neuropathy
- distal peroneal neuropathy
A couple of these conditions merit additional explanation here, namely nerve entrapment and neuropathy.
What Are Nerves?
Nerves are microscopic fibers that originate in the brain and travel through the spinal column, some continuing outward to the body’s various tissues and organs. The role of nerves is to transmit signals back and forth between the brain and the related body parts they supply. The messages that nerves transmit are essential for what we consider “normal” functioning. Many common everyday activities we take for granted are actually performed thanks to nerves.
For example, it is nerves that tell you to remove your hand from an excessively hot surface before you get burned. Nerves are what tell you whether to put on a jacket because it’s too cold outside. Nerves are responsible for telling the muscles in your fingers to contract in order to grip a fork and knife, or to write with a pen, or to kick or catch a soccer ball. Eating, falling asleep and waking up, scratching an itch, swatting a fly, or becoming sexually aroused – all the domain of nerves.
Additionally, nerves are responsible for communicating the automatic, autonomic signals that keep your lungs breathing, your heart beating, and your stomach digesting. Every action and reaction you take, whether conscious or unconscious, voluntary or involuntary, is the function of your nerves.
Therefore, as you can now imagine, any damage or disease to the nerves can have profound effects on how you live your day to day life.
At Ravenswood Chiropractic & Wellness Center we specialize in the treatment of “pinched” nerves. We are open 6 days a week and accommodate same day appointments for the diagnosis and treatment of “pinched” nerves. Schedule an examination today with one of our expert team members 773.878.7330. We are located in Andersonville on the North Side of Chicago.