What is a Pinched Nerve?
A pinched nerve is a nerve that is damaged or compressed due to something pressing on it. That pressure may be caused by vertebrae being out of position with arthritic changes, loss of disc height, arthritis or degenerative disc disease, or bone spurs, all of which can directly compress or pinch the nerve. A herniated spinal disc may also cause nerve compression. The discs are the cushions between the vertebrae. If too much pressure is applied to them through strenuous activity, the soft center of the disc may push out and press on the adjacent nerve.
Edema or swelling of tissues from injury or overuse of a joint can cause nerve compression indirectly and feel like a nerve is “pinched”, often causing pain down the length of the nerve.
Studies have found that pinched nerves impact about 85 out of every 100,000 adults in the United States each year. Most pinched nerves occur in the neck, upper middle back or lower back, although you may also experience the pain of pinched nerves in your wrist, elbow, or hand, legs or feet.
What Are the Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve?
The location of your symptoms will depend on which nerves are affected. A pinched nerve in the neck may neck pain, headaches, shoulder pain or make it difficult and painful to turn your head. The pain may radiate to you arms and hands, or cause tingling or numbness.
A pinched nerve in the midback may cause upper back and chest pain.
A pinched nerve in the low back may result in a sharp pain or burning sensation, which can affect the hips and buttocks, and travel down the leg into the foot. It can also result in tingling, numbness or muscle weakness, and can cause pain walking or bending over.
A pinched ulnar nerve may cause pain in your arm and elbow.
A pinched nerve in the wrist will cause pain in the wrist, hand, and/or fingers.
How Do Chiropractors Treat Patients with Pinched Nerves?
If you feel you have a pinched nerve, the first step is a careful examination, which is important to determine the cause of your pain. The doctor needs to treat the cause of your condition, not just the symptoms, so that your condition can be resolved properly. Pain killers may give temporary relief, but they only treat the symptoms, allowing the condition to deteriorate.
I always perform orthopedic and neurological tests to determine the cause of your condition before recommending or performing any treatment. If I determine that x-rays would be helpful in your diagnosis, I will take those in our office.
In chiropractic terminology, we call misalignments of the vertebrae “subluxations” and we correct these subluxations through spinal manipulations or chiropractic adjustments, which move the vertebra back into their proper position.
To relieve the pressure from a pinched nerve, I may perform spinal manipulations to move the vertebra back into alignment. This eliminates the nerve compression, relieves pain, allows inflammation to decrease and restores range of motion. I may use direct, hands-on manipulative thrusts, specific stretching, or instrument adjusting, depending on your condition and preference. I may utilize interferential electrical stimulation to reduce pain, edema and muscle spasms.
I have invested in state-of-the-art equipment to help my patients receive the best care possible. The Thompson drop table and the Cox flexion-distraction table work very well for thoracic (mid back) and lumbar (low back) subluxations, relieving pain and restoring range of motion.
The Pulstar Computerized Instrument System, which is a gentle method of care, works very well on cervical (neck), thoracic (mid back) and lumbar (low back) subluxations and helps reduce muscle spasms and restore range of motion as well as relieving pain.
Most patients need to return for a series of manipulations to completely resolve their conditions. I treat each patient as an individual and so the amount of care I recommend will depend upon the severity of your condition and how quickly your body responds to treatments.
If your pinched nerve is caused by a spinal disc herniation, you may benefit from spinal decompression therapy, which will relieve the pressure on the nerves, strengthen the ligament bands (which hold the disc in place), and improve blood flow to the disc, helping it to heal. Different doctors offer a variety of spinal decompression machines which a range of capabilities. I utilize one of the best spinal decompression therapy systems, the sophisticated Tritan DTS computerized system, which provides treatment with clinically-proven success.
I may also suggest naturopathic therapies, exercise, nutrition or herbal supplements to help support and speed your healing process.
One of my patients said he had a “catch” in his neck when he turned his head. This patient told me that he would feel a sharp pain when he turned his head each time. He said this impeded his ability to look over his shoulder when he was driving. After a careful examination, I found the source of his problem. Several vertebrae in his cervical spine were out of position. Because of this misalignment, the vertebrae were unable to rotate properly, causing him to not be able to turn his head properly and compressing the nerves exiting through the spine, causing pain. After the first treatment with spinal manipulations, the patient felt immediate relief. After a series of manipulations over a period of weeks, the patient’s symptoms disappeared.
Get Relief from Your Pinched Nerve Pain
If you have a pinched nerve or are experiencing other back or neck problems, you don’t have to live with pain! I have over 38 years experience helping thousands of patients recover from pinched nerves and other painful and difficult neck and back conditions. Call us today at Chiropractor Plus in Nixa, 417-725-6655, and find out what we can do to help you!
Isn’t it time YOU felt good again?