Patients often tell us that they are in pain because they have a pinched nerve. What is a pinched nerve and how do you get relief if you have one?
Your nerves run through your spinal canal and exit through the spaces between the vertebra of your spine, carrying messages to the various organs of your body. When the spinal vertebrae are out of place, or there is inflammation of the muscles or ligament, the nerve can be compressed, or “pinched”.
Some of the symptoms of pinched nerves are:
Pain in the area where the nerve is pinched (neck, mid, or low back)
Pain going down the arm or leg.
Pain in the buttock.
Pain or difficulty turning your head, bending, or twisting
Numbness, tingling or burning feeling in the arms, legs, fingers, or toes
Loss of motion
Pain and difficulty in rising from a sitting position
Pain while staying in the same position for any period of time (sitting, lying down, standing)
Some results of a pinched nerve may be harder to identify. The body depends on the nervous system for the brain to communicate with the organs of the body. Pinched nerves can disrupt that communication, leading to other health problems.
There are several ways in which a nerve can become compressed. That compression may result from one or a combination of these conditions:
1. Misalignment of Spinal Vertebrae
In chiropractic care, we refer to this as a subluxation. Misaligned vertebrae close off the space through which the nerve exits, pressing down on the nerve.
2. Disc Degeneration
The cartilage between each vertebra are called ‘discs”. Age, stress, overwork, and accidents can cause the discs to degenerate, making the space available for the nerve smaller and compressing it.
Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that mostly affects those over 40. It is often called Degenerative Joint Disease because it progressively degenerates joint function. Osteoarthritis progresses in stages.
Stage 1 - Minor wear and tear in the joint with no pain or minor discomfort.
Stage 2 - Joints feel stiff after staying in the same position for a period of time (sitting, lying, or standing). As the cartilage between the joints wears away, bone rubs on bone. The body reacts by producing new outgrowths of bone, known as osteophytes or bone spurs, to help stabilize the area. The spurs press, or pinch, the nerve. Pain becomes noticeable.
Stage 3 - Cartilage continues to degenerate, causing inflammation. Pain now occurs during normal activities.
Stage 4 - Little cartilage remains, leading to severe inflammation and overgrowth of bone spurs. Pain may be constant and severe.
When the disc protrudes out from between the vertebra of the spine, this is called a Disc Herniation or Bulging Disc. The disc material presses against the nerve, pinching it. Herniation of a lumbar disc may cause sharp, shooting pain in the buttock and down the leg, even extending to the foot. This is often called sciatica because it travels down the sciatic nerve. A herniation of the cervical spine (the neck) travels into the arms or hand. This compression may cause numbness and tingling sensations.
Why is it important to get treatment for a pinched nerve as early as possible?
In the early stages of these conditions there may be no pain or discomfort, but the longer they persist, the more the symptoms will increase. Each of these conditions is progressive. The earlier these conditions receive treatment, the faster and more complete a recovery can be expected.
Regular chiropractic care can help correct these conditions before they cause much discomfort and slow or stop their progression.
Nixa chiropractor Dr. Hunter Greenwood always begins with neurological and orthopedic examinations to diagnose your condition. He will take x-rays if necessary
Next, Dr. Greenwood will correct your subluxations with chiropractic adjustments or utilize naturopathic stretching for arthritis. Dr. Greenwood has a variety of adjustment and stretching techniques, including many he has personally developed over his 37 years of practice. He may also do range of motion and trigger point therapy as a part of that treatment and suggest exercise with no additional charge.
If you are suffering from a herniated disc, your Dr. Greenwood may recommend spinal decompression therapy for pain relief and to speed healing. Decompression relieves the pressure on the nerves, draws vital fluids and nutrients back into the disc, and strengthens the ligament bands, so they can hold the disc back in place again and accelerate healing. At Chiropractor Plus in Nixa, Dr. Greenwood uses the most advanced spinal decompression table, the Triton DTS.
Dr. Greenwood may also recommend other therapies or nutrition to help your body heal more quickly.
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Chiropractor Plus, 1361 W. Mt. Vernon St., Nixa, MO 65714
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The contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Hunter Greenwood DC ND. The information on this site is not intended as medical advice. Dr. Greenwood recommends that patients make their health care decisions carefully after doing their own research and consulting with a licensed health care professional.