Shooting pain that radiates down your arms, tingling in the hands and loss of reflex are all symptoms of a pinched nerve. A pinched nerve can occur while you’re doing any kind of physical movement, such as reaching or bending, and it can cause extreme pain for weeks on end. Early treatment is essential to prevent swelling and inflammation in the affected area, which can restrict movement. Chiropractic care, stretching and massage therapy are some ways to reduce your pain and improve your mobility. Find out how you can treat your pinched nerve with these tips!
Many patients visit a doctor or chiropractor due to a pinched nerve, which describes any peripheral nerve that is being compressed. These nerves are located throughout the joints, hips and limbs, and when compressed, can cause radiating pain, numbness and tingling sensations. Since a pinched nerve can occur with any peripheral nerve, they often develop due to a herniated disc in the spine, which causes radiating pain down the leg, and from carpal tunnel syndrome, which leads to pain and numbness in the hands and fingers. Lumbar and cervical spine nerves are often victims of a pinched nerve, leading to buttock and leg pain plus shoulder and arm pain, respectively. While their pain helps make them identifiable, pinched nerves are often diagnosed through X-ray imaging, CT scans and MRIs.
Pinched nerves can develop suddenly or gradually, depending on what caused them. With aging, the onset of a compressed nerve comes more gradually as changes in the bone structure occurs, while sudden acute joint pain can develop from a herniated disc. The tissue compressing the nerve could be a tendon, ligament or muscle, or it can be a combination of all of these. Those who are obese, have rheumatoid arthritis, play active sports or recently have experienced an injury have a higher likelihood of developing a pinched nerve, as well as those who feel high stress from work.
Pain is usually the number one symptom that patients experience with a pinched nerve, but it’s only one of many that can be felt throughout this process. Others report tingling in the extremities that feel like pins or needles, and numbness in the affected area. Feet or hands that feel like they’ve “fallen asleep”, plus, muscle weakness also alludes to a pinched nerve, as well. In rare cases, atrophy in the muscles sometimes develops if the condition continues for an extended period of time without treatment. This can lead to a loss of coordination and fine motor control, making it difficult to drive, participate in sports and work. Some patients only experience one of these symptoms, while others feel a combination of many of them.
Although not everyone will suffer from a pinched nerve, there are certain factors that put some people more at risk than others. Since women typically have smaller carpal tunnels in their wrists than men do, they more often have pinched nerves there. Thyroid disease also increases your likelihood of developing carpal tunnel, which causes pinched nerves. Those who are obese or have diabetes should be especially careful with their bodies as excess weight compresses nerves, along with pregnant women, as water and weight gain compress these pathways, as well. Jobs that cause you to perform repetitive movements with your hands, wrists or shoulders pull at your nerves, leaving you susceptible to injury.
While minor pinched nerves typically resolve on their own, those that are experiencing chronic pain, tingling or numbness should be evaluated by a medical professional. If your pinched nerve is within the spine, chiropractic adjustments are wonderful for relieving pressure and aligning your back into its correct position, thus reducing pain. Massage therapy also helps relieve pressure and relaxes the muscles, which can help the body heal. If you have a job that requires you to move, bend or position yourself in a certain way, try changing up your routine to avoid these repetitive movements that put you at risk for injury. If you can’t vary your routine, at least take frequent breaks to give your body some rest. Maintaining a healthy weight and incorporating strength and flexibility exercises into your workout regimen will also put less stress on your body and improve muscle, joint and nerve strength.
In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to fix a fractured bone or remove scar tissue, but this is rare. Before resorting to invasive treatments, schedule a consultation with your medical provider or chiropractor to have a comprehensive evaluation and develop a treatment plan that is personalized for your needs.
At Olathe Chiropractic, we provide patients with in depth treatment plans to remedy their pinched nerves and get them moving again. If your pain won’t go away, call our office today at (913) 764-9393 to schedule a FREE consultation. Call today to start your journey to a healthier, happier life!