Living with pain can be debilitating and can impact your quality of life. Being in pain or discomfort can make it challenging to fulfill duties at work and enjoy hobbies.
A “pinched nerve” happens when there is compression or pressure at the root of the nerve. This can be caused by a bulged or a herniated disc. A pinched disc is a common issue that can affect people of all ages, especially those over age 50, and can be intensely painful. Getting quick and long-term relief is essential. Chiropractors have the knowledge and training to help with the diagnosis and treatment of pinched nerves. It is helpful to understand what this condition is and what a chiropractor can do.
An Explanation of a Pinched Nerve
A pinched nerve occurs when a tissue surrounding a nerve, such as cartilage, bones, or muscles, is applying excess pressure. This impacts the nerve’s ability to work properly, resulting in pain and irritation. Pinched nerves can happen anywhere in the body. A common cause of a pinched nerve can be trauma associated with a motor vehicle accident. People can experience this sensation commonly in the neck, back, or wrist. When a nerve is “pinched”, the pain may radiate throughout the body. For instance, a pinched nerve in the back can cause numbness in the legs and feet. A pinched nerve in the neck may result in weakness in the shoulders and arms.
Other Effects on the Body
Symptoms of pinched nerves can range from mild to moderate to severe. In addition to numbness and weakness, you could experience tingling at the site or a feeling as though there were needles in your body. The pain can be sharp or burning, radiating away from the spot. When these symptoms affect the feet and legs, it can impact mobility, making it difficult to walk. If the symptoms affect the hands and legs, it can be challenging to carry or push objects.
Feeling these symptoms occasionally or moderately may not be a sign of concern. However, when the effects continue for days and do not improve, you should see a chiropractor for a pinched nerve. If the pain and discomfort prevent you from accomplishing routine tasks, seek relief. Also, if pain medication does not appear to soothe the symptoms, visit a chiropractor. Chiropractic treatment can usually produce positive results within 12 weeks.
Diagnosing a Pinched Nerve
Your chiropractor is a good resource for treatment and pain relief when you believe you have a pinched nerve in the back, neck, or shoulders. The chiropractor will assess your condition through an examination and testing. The chiropractor may perform an MRI or measure the nerve impulses in your muscles to detect damage.
Perhaps the most popular way to treat a pinched nerve is through a chiropractic adjustment. This procedure allows the chiropractor to manipulate the spine, aligning it properly. This can reduce pressure on the joints and nerves. To do it, the chiropractor will place his or her hands on the patient’s back, with the patient lying face-down on a table. The chiropractor then uses sudden, controlled force to move the spine into the right location. If necessary, an instrument may be used to produce more force. This may be the method in more serious cases.
At the chiropractor’s office, massage therapy may also be an effective technique to combat a pinched nerve. Doing this is often the preferred option when muscles are pinching a nerve in the back or neck. A massage can minimize the occurrence of muscle spasms that may result from this condition.
Applying Cold to the Affected Spot
When you need immediate pain relief from a pinched nerve, the chiropractor may use cold temperatures. This process is called cryotherapy. Doing this can deaden the pain of a pinched nerve, but it may not end the cause of the condition.
The chiropractor may also recommend physical therapy as a way to fight a pinched nerve. Coming into the office multiple times a week for a few weeks or even months and doing strength and mobility exercises can help. The chiropractor will take you through various stretches and flexibility routines to strengthen the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around the affected nerves.
If a pinched nerve is tormenting you, get the relief you need today. A chiropractor can take you through these treatment methods and restore your body’s function. You can be free of this pain now moving forward.
By: Dr. Terry McSweeney
Dr. McSweeney is certified to perform a pf-NCS test, which can help identify if the bulge or the herniation is pinching the nerve. This test can diagnose radiculopathy of the cervical or lumbar spine. The pf-NCS test is not painful and is performed in our Newark, NJ office.
Dr. McSweeney is also certified in Manipulation Under Anesthesia and is a member of both the New Jersey Chiropractic Society and American Chiropractic Society; he is also a board member of the Mount Prospect Partnership and director of Mayor Quintana’s Health Program. Click here to learn more about us.