Our nerves branch out from our brains and spine and relay important messages throughout our body. It’s important not to ignore these messages. Any sort of interruption to a nerve will be felt as pain or numbness. The damage can be mild or severe, but if left untreated, can become a permanent and debilitating condition.
Often, however, it’s treatable, and back pain doctors can relieve the discomfort caused by a pinched nerve and treat the musculoskeletal imbalance or condition that’s causing it.
What is a Pinched Nerve?
A pinched nerve is any kind of compression or irritation of a nerve and can occur virtually to any nerve in our body. A nerve can become irritated or inflamed when it’s compressed, or when tissues such as ligaments, cartilage, muscles, tendons, and bones are pressing on it.
Common conditions caused by a pinched nerve are carpal tunnel syndrome and sciatica.
This pressure on the nerve causes pain and discomfort.
What Causes a Pinched Nerve?
A pinched nerve occurs when too much pressure is applied to a nerve by surrounding tissues, whether it’s bone, cartilage muscles or tendons. When we have a herniated disc in our spine, for example, the bulging disc will press on the nerve, sending pain messages through our arms or legs depending on the location of the affected disc.
Conditions that can cause a compressed nerve are back injuries, arthritis, and stress and strain on the spine and back from repetitive motions at work, sports, and other physical, activities. Obesity, poor posture, pregnancy, and prolonged bed rest can also cause pinched nerves.
A pinched nerve can also stem from trigger points, which are tiny painful knots in the muscles that form through injury or overuse. The trigger points can lead to a pinched nerve and can radiate pain to other parts of the body.
What are the Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve?
A pinched nerve can be difficult to diagnose because the pain it causes is felt away from the actual nerve that’s affected.
The pain from a pinched nerve varies from mild to severe and can come and go, particularly when the body changes position, which can relieve or increase pressure on the nerve. Symptoms include a burning or stinging sensation, pins and needles, muscle weakness, and a frequent sensation of a foot or hand “falling asleep.”
The pain will be felt in different parts of the body depending on where the nerve is being pinched. If an injury or imbalance is in the cervical spine – the vertebra that runs through the neck – pain will radiate through the shoulders and down the arms and even into the hands.
If the pinched nerve is in the lumbar spine – the vertebra in the lower back – the pain will radiate through the hips and down the legs.
A pinched sciatic nerve, which is the biggest nerve in the body, will be felt as pain and discomfort in the lower back and often through the hips and groin.
How is a Pinched Nerve Treated?
Conditions that cause pinched nerves respond well to chiropractic care, particularly if diagnosed early. Back pain doctors in Waterford, MI., will prescribe a combination of treatment that includes exercises and stretches to relieve pressure on the nerve and will perform chiropractic adjustments to correct any imbalances that are affecting nerves.