Pinched nerve is a catch all phrase that refers to any type of nerve compression, irritation, or inflammation in your body. When you have a compressed nerve, your body will alert you with warning signals in the form of pain. Nerve damage from a compressed nerve can be minor or severe. Often times it is reversible with chiropractic care, but if left untreated can become irreversible. It is recommended to seek chiropractic treatment early on to relieve pain and prevent long-term damage.
What is a Pinched Nerve
A pinched nerve is most often an irritated or inflamed nerve. Pinched nerves can also occur when there is compression on the nerve. Compression often occurs when the nerve becomes pressed between tissues such as ligaments, tendons, and bones. In certain disorders known as tunnel syndromes, nerves will actually become pinched and cause ongoing pain. The most common disorders where the nerve is actually pinched (and not just compressed) include carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, and thoracic outlet syndrome.
The Causes of a Pinched Nerve
Most often, nerve irritation or inflammation occurs when the bones, joints or muscles surrounding the spine are not in proper position or are not moving properly. Repetitive motions can lead to nerve compression as can holding your body in the same position for extended periods of time. Other causes of nerve compression include poor posture, rheumatoid or wrist arthritis, stress from repetitive work, hobbies or sports activities and obesity.
Tunnel syndromes leading to a pinched nerve are often the result of injury, spasm or inflammation of the muscles and connective tissue surrounding the nerve. The body can also develop something called trigger points. This is where knots of muscle form whenever you overwork or injury them. Not only is the pain from the trigger point itself painful, but it can also lead to a pinched nerve.
The Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve
Pinched nerve pain can feel like a pinching or burning sensation. Occasionally this pain may radiate outward. Other symptoms of a pinched nerve include a tingling “pins and needles” sensation (known as paresthesia), muscle weakness in the affected area, or a frequent feeling that a foot or hand has “fallen asleep”.
The Treatment of a Pinched Nerve
Pinched nerves respond well to chiropractic care, particularly when combined with other physical therapies such as exercises and stretches. Pain from a pinched nerve caused by a trigger point needs often require therapy including stretching, deep tissue massage and chiropractic care.
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