Have you been dealing with shooting pains going down your legs and arms? Or perhaps you’ve been feeling muscle weakness or pins and needles. These symptoms could be signs of trapped nerve.
Trapped nerve, also called pinched nerve, is unfortunately very common. In fact, 85 in every 1,000 people in the UK suffer from it. This shouldn’t be a cause for concern, however. It is very easily treatable and doesn’t always need invasive methods of treatment like surgery.
There are many forms of non-invasive treatment when dealing with pinched nerve. Chiropractic is one of the best.
In this blog, we’ll explore what pinched nerve is, why it occurs, and how a chiropractor can act as a trapped nerve specialist near you.
Read on to learn more.
What Is Trapped Nerve?
Our bodies transmit signals through nerves. After leaving the brain, motor commands travel down the spinal cord and follow the pathways of nerves until they reach their final destination. This allows sensory commands to travel from outside, along the spinal cord, and back to the brain. During their journey, these long nerves can get compressed, pinched, or trapped.
When this occurs, it is referred to as a pinched or trapped nerve. When a nerve is trapped, its function is comrprised.
Anyone who has experienced nerve pain knows that it can be debilitating. Apart from pain, trapped nerve symptoms can just be a nuisance to live with. They can affect your sleep, productivity, and overall functioning.
The most common symptoms of pinched nerve are:
- Pins and needles in affected area
- Often feeling like your hand or foot has “fallen asleep”
- Muscle weakness
- Decreased sensation or even numbness in affected area
- Sharp, shooting pain that radiates outward
These symptoms may also feel worse during sleep.
What Causes Trapped Nerve?
Trapped nerves occur due to nerve compression by surrounding tissue. Sometimes, bone, cartilage or swollen soft tissue can directly affect the nerve. Trapped nerve is often caused by:
- Rheumatoid arthritis development
- Weight-related issues/obesity
- Traumatic sports injuries or vehicular accidents
- Work stress (i.e. posture related issues)
- Hobbies such as athletics which can lead to overuse injury
Short-term pinched nerves rarely cause permanent damage. As soon as the pressure is relieved, nerve function returns to normal. Continuing pressure, however, can lead to chronic pain and permanent nerve damage.
You already know what causes pinched nerve. There are also certain risk factors that can make you more susceptible, such as:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Bulging or herniated discs
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Nerves in and around the spine may be pinched by protrusions in the spinal canal in such cases.
Affected Areas of Trapped Nerve
Pinched nerves can occur in any part of the body. Our spinal cords are usually under a lot of stress, making them prime victims of trapped nerve. This can affect the overall functioning of the body.
Depending on which nerve is pinched, your motor functions may be affected. You may even feel pain in your toes, legs, and lower back. Pinched nerves in the hands can affect your finger and wrist mobility.
Trapped nerves can also occur in your neck, shoulders, and lower back. This can even affect your overall posture and mobility.
Can Pinched Nerve Lead To Worse Conditions?
It is possible for a pinched nerve to become serious, causing chronic pain or even damaging the nerve permanently. Swelling and fluid can cause irreversible damage in some cases. That’s why you must always seek medical attention if your symptoms don’t get better after several days, or even worsen.
Who To See For Trapped Nerve
Now that you know everything you need to know about trapped nerve… you must be wondering who can help. Chiropractors can act as trapped nerve specialists near you. They have all the knowledge and expertise needed to treat this condition and can help get you back to normal in no time.
Referred Pain and Other Sources of Hip Pain
Sometimes “hip pain” can actually originate from another part of your body. This is called “reffered pain”. For example, patients who have lower back pain and hip pain can actually be dealing with sacoiliac joint dysfunction. Hernias can also lead to hip and groin pain.
Another extremely common source of referred pain is sciatica. This is caused by the irritation or inflammation of the sciatic nerve. Usually caused by spinal degeneration, disc herniation, r Piriformis Syndrome, sciatica can cause severe hip pain, lowe back pain, and even radiating leg pain.
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How A Chiropractor Can Act As A Trapped Nerve Specialist Near You
To begin with, your chiropractor will need to perform a few tests to understand your condition better. This may be in the form of a physical exam where your muscle strength, pain, and sensitivity will be tested. You may be made to lie on your back for this exam and lift your legs or arms.
Once your chiropractor has a clearer idea on your condition, they can move on to treatment. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to treatment. Depending on your individual case, your chiropractor will use any of the following chiropractic adjustments:
Diversified Adjustment: This is the most common adjustment. It involves gentle movements and pressure to bring the back into alignment.
Seated Diversified Adjustment: This is a seated version of the diversified technique, and works best for shoulder and neck injuries.
Lumbar Side Posture Adjusment: In this adjustment, you will have to lie on your side with one leg bent. Your chiropractor will manipulate your spine, working wonders for lower back issues.
The Thompson Drop-Table Technique: When using this technique, your chiropractor will employ a multi-segmented table. While you sit on this table, your chiropractor will thrust on your spine. Each time they thrust, the table will drop. This is to limit the amount of force applied and gradually reach the problem point without risking pain or injury.
Knee-Chest Adjustments: During this adjustment, you will be made to lie chest-down on an exam table. This allows your chiropractor to manipulate your upper back and neck.
Manual Extremities Adjustments: This treatment works wonders for pinched nerves, as the chiropractor can manipulate specific body parts. In turn, relieving you from numbness and pain. This technique can be employed on the knee, ankle, hip, elbow, shoulder, or wrist.
Toggle Recoil: The toggle recoil technique is ideal for those with more sensitive spines. In this method, the chiropractor uses quicker, smaller, and more gentle thrusts.
The Activator Method: Rather than manual and hands-on manipulation, this method uses a small instrument ro perform controlled adjustments. It does so through the use of low-amplitude, high-velocity force.
The Sacral-Occipital Technique (SOT): Your chiropractor may use this technique to target specific areas of your body. Such as your head, neck, extremities, and pelvis.
Flexion-Distraction: This is another gentle method of manipulation. It involves gently stretching the spine to lower pressure and widen spaces between discs. Apart from pinched nerves, this can help mobility issues as well.
Once a chiropractor helps you, you have to continue to help yourself for best results. In order to make the best of your chiropractic adjustments, your chiropractpror may prescribe the following:
- At-home stretches
- Posture-correcting techniques
- Posture-correcting pillows
These simple at-home treatments can go a long way on your journey toward recovery!
The duration of a trapped nerve varies depending on its cause and severity. Some cases may resolve in a few days with rest and conservative treatment, while more severe or chronic issues can persist for weeks or even months. Chiropractic care can often help speed up the recovery process.
In mild cases, a trapped nerve may improve on its own with rest and avoiding aggravating activities. However, chronic or severe trapped nerves usually require professional intervention, such as chiropractic care, to fully resolve.
Nerve pain from a trapped nerve can manifest as sharp, shooting, burning, or tingling sensations. It may also cause numbness, weakness, or a pins-and-needles feeling in the affected area.
It’s generally not recommended to massage a trapped nerve directly, as this could exacerbate the problem. However, massage therapy provided by a qualified professional, including chiropractors, may help alleviate muscle tension that contributes to nerve compression.
Trapped nerves typically do not resolve overnight. Recovery time varies depending on the severity and cause. While some people may experience relief in a few days, others may require several weeks or months of treatment to fully recover.
Heat can provide relief for some people with pinched nerves by increasing blood flow and relaxing tense muscles. However, it may not be suitable for everyone, and cold therapy (ice) can be more effective in reducing inflammation. The choice between heat and cold should be based on individual symptoms and preferences and is often determined by a healthcare professional, such as a chiropractor.