Can Chiropractic Relieve Pain From A Pinched Nerve?
Who knew something so small could make such an impact on your body? A pinched nerve can be incredibly painful and make it difficult to live your normal life and enjoy your everyday activities.
Nerves are small but powerful, and a pinched nerve can be uncomfortable and potentially lead to long-term damage.
There are a variety of treatments that can help with pinched nerves, but if you have a pinched nerve, chiropractic care may be your best bet.
Here is everything you need to know about pinched nerves and chiropractic care treatment.
What Is A Pinched Nerve?
A pinched nerve occurs when the surrounding tissue puts too much pressure on the nerve. Nerves send messages from your brain throughout your body and extend from the brain through the spinal cord.
The added pressure from bones, muscles, or tendons disrupts the nerve’s function and can lead to a variety of symptoms.
Pinched nerves can occur for a number of reasons, including injury or repetitive work or movements. Pinched nerves can also occur from staying in one position for a long period of time, such as keeping your legs crossed when sitting or sleeping on bent elbows.
People who have arthritis are at higher risk for getting a pinched nerve, as are people who are obese as their body tends to put more pressure on their nerves and joints.
A healthy lifestyle, including maintaining a healthy weight and following regular exercise with strength training and flexibility can help prevent pinched nerves, as can limiting repetitive activities and taking frequent breaks during those activities.
However, pinched nerves are relatively common, especially for middle-aged people as their spines wear down.
In most cases, pinched nerves can be treated and resolved within a few days or weeks. However, the time before the nerve is healed can be painful and uncomfortable.
Once the pressure is relieved, the nerve tends to go back to normal without any permanent damage.
Some pinched nerves require surgery to relieve the pain. If the pressure continues without treatment, it can occasionally lead to chronic pain and permanent nerve damage.
The earlier you can start treating a pinched nerve, the greater the chance is that your body will recover faster without lasting damage.
Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve
Pinched nerves can happen in numerous places on the body. Although each location has its own unique symptoms, the general symptoms for a pinched nerve are pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness.
The pain from a pinched nerve can be sharp, aching, or burning. In many cases, it starts at the site of the pinched nerve but radiates outward to other areas of the body.
Depending on the location of the pinched nerve, the pain can be constant, or it might only occur when you perform a certain movement, like turning your head to the side or lifting your arm.
For many people, tingling from a pinched nerve is a similar sensation to the pins and needles feeling of a hand or foot falling asleep, except that the tingling feeling doesn’t go away.
Pinched nerve symptoms are often worse when you’re sleeping because your body is still and likely holding the same position.
As the nerves are compressed for long periods of time, the protective barrier around the nerve can break down and cause fluid to build up. That extra fluid can lead to swelling, extra pressure, and scarring.
Pinched nerves commonly occur along the spine, which can lead to serious pain in the upper and lower back.
A pinched nerve in your lower back occurs when something puts pressure on the nerves near the bottom five vertebrae. A pinched nerve in the lower back is usually manifest by shooting pain, as well as muscle spasms, weakness, and numbness, and tingling.
Aside from being incredibly painful in the lower back, a pinched nerve in that area can also cause serious pain in your hips, ankle, legs, and feet.
One of the most common causes of a pinched nerve in the lower back is from a herniated disk, which tends to occur either from injury or from the disk wearing down over time.
Most people who suffer from a pinched nerve in their lower back are between the ages of 30 and 50 because vertebrae compress with age and can weaken, making them more likely to get pinched.
A pinched nerve in the upper back is also caused by stress to the nerve around the spine. Pinched nerves in the upper back are often caused by poor posture or a sports injury. Like pinched nerves in the lower back, upper back symptoms include a limited range of motion, pain, and tingling.
A pinched nerve in the upper back may cause more pain on one side of the body or when you move your body towards one side but not the other based on where the nerve is located.
Pinched nerves in the shoulder occur when something presses against a nerve coming from the neck. A pinched nerve in the shoulder can be related to a spine injury or slipped disk.
It can also occur from a sports injury due to repetitive motion, such as repeatedly serving in tennis or swinging a golf club.
A pinched nerve in the shoulder usually comes with pain, numbness, and a limited range of motion. In many cases, a shoulder injury also makes it painful to move or rotate your neck.
Pain in the shoulder, caused by a pinched nerve, can spread through the entire arm and hand, making it uncomfortable to perform everyday tasks.
One of the most common places for a pinched nerve is in the neck. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most painful places. A pinched nerve occurs when a nerve in the neck is compressed or irritated. Moving your head in certain directions will likely make the pain worse.
Pain from a pinched nerve in the neck can extend to pain and numbness in the arms, fingers, and shoulders, as well as muscle weakness.
A pinched nerve in the neck most commonly occurs with age, but it can also happen after an injury or for no apparent reason at all.
At-home exercises can help lessen the pain of a pinched nerve. Start by resting the affected part of your body for a few days. In many cases, rest alone can fix a pinched nerve.
Frequent movement can be effective in relieving pain. Low-impact exercises can help relieve stress and soothe the nerve. Simple stretches, such as slowly moving your neck up and down or shifting your back side to side, can prevent further nerve damage.
A pinched nerve tends to limit your range of motion, but slowly and gently stretching it can loosen the area and make improvements.
These simple exercises paired with massage or yoga can be incredibly effective. If the pain persists or gets worse after stretching, contact your doctor or chiropractor.
Some pinched nerves go away on their own with rest. However, it can be difficult for people to simply stop performing a task or using a certain part of their body.
If your pain and symptoms last for more than a few days or if you are experiencing swelling, visit a doctor or chiropractor. The longer the pain lasts, the more likely it is to lead to permanent nerve damage. A doctor may prescribe more rest, a brace or splint, or over-the-counter pain medicine. Other treatments include physical therapy or even surgery in extreme cases.
A chiropractor has a number of tools and treatments for pinched nerves. A chiropractor may start with a spinal adjustment to ensure everything is in its proper place. Part of the body being out of alignment can cause issues and potential pinched nerves in other places.
Chiropractors also use hot and cold therapy and stretching for pinched nerves. After treatment, a chiropractor may recommend stretches and exercises to do on your own at home before coming back in a few days for more adjustments and pinched nerve treatments.
Regularly treating your spine can not only alleviate the pain and discomfort of a slipped disk but also prevent it from happening again.
Chiropractors can also address the underlying cause of pinched nerves, such as a spine out of alignment. When your spine isn’t properly aligned, it is more likely to slip a disk, which is a major cause of pinched nerves.
Regular chiropractic adjustments can align your spine and reduce the risk of a slipped disk.
Pinched nerves are uncomfortable and can affect the entire body. Rest and at-home treatments can be effective, but chiropractic care is also a powerful tool in healing your body and getting rid of the pain.
Chiropractic care for pinched nerves can get you back to your normal activities and help avoid long-term damage. If you find yourself in pain and discomfort from a pinched nerve, don’t hesitate to call a chiropractor.