Pinched nerves affect millions of Americans at some point in their lives. The unrelenting pain and discomfort caused by pinched nerves can have a drastic impact on your everyday life. While pinched nerves are easy to diagnose, they aren’t always easy to treat. This is because they can be caused by a number of issues.
The staff at A Family Chiropractic Clinic is experienced in treating pinched nerves. We have helped many patients ease and eliminate the pain caused by pinched nerves and other spinal issues. Our goal is to improve the well-being of your spine and body to help you life a full, healthy, and happy life.
What are Pinched Nerves?
Nerves are similar to the electrical wires in your home. They branch off of the spinal cord to carry signals to each area of your body and then back to your brain. They are a key part of your central nervous system. When these nerves are subjected to pressure from the surrounding bone and soft tissue they don’t function properly. When a nerve is “pinched” then the signals cannot travel well. The pinched nerve can also send false pain signals to the brain. A pinched nerve can also result in limitations of control in the surrounding muscles.
Most pinched nerves can be found in the spine. The spinal canal is tightly packed with nerves which branch out to control all parts of your body. It’s easy for nerves to become pinched in such a limited space. This can quickly lead to unrelenting pain and discomfort along with limited muscle control, movements, and sensations.
Symptoms of Pinched Nerves
Most people who suffer from pinched nerves experience localized pain. However, it isn’t uncommon to experience pain far from the point of the nerve pressure. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine the origin of the problem. This is because nerve compression is known to cause issues in various, unrelated parts of the body. This can make diagnosing where the problem has occurred very difficult. For example, a pinched nerve in your neck can cause tingling and discomfort in your fingertips.
One of the most common pinched nerves is the sciatic nerve. This nerve is the thickest, and longest in the body. It is the nerve responsible for movement in your lower body. This nerve is vulnerable to extra pressure due to its location. It runs through the lumbar area of your spine. This area is very flexible and vulnerable to injury due to the weight of your body. The lumbar region is a common location for herniated discs, arthritis, and other conditions that can impact the sciatic nerve.
When the sciatic nerve is under excessive pressure it can cause pain, weakness, and discomfort in your lower body. In some cases this can impair your ability to move comfortably. People who suffer from sciatica often find their everyday lives are also impaired.
It’s imperative you find treatment for pinched nerves. The constant pressure over a prolonged time can result in a variety of ongoing problems including:
- Increased Pain
- Increased Muscle Weakness
- Loss of Reflexes
- Loss of Dexterity
- Limited Sensation
In extreme cases, it is possible for the nerve to die and permanently lose its ability to function. This is due to the lack of nutrients getting to the nerve because of the pressure. This can ultimately lead to permanent numbness and limited function.
Causes and Symptoms of Pinched Nerves
There are a number of issues that may result in a pinched nerve. These can include everything from injuries or stress from overuse to arthritis and obesity. Some individuals are more susceptible to suffering from pinched nerves. For example, women tend to suffer from a pinched nerve more frequently than men.
Other conditions can also contribute to pinched nerves including:
- Bone Spurs
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Thyroid Disease
The symptoms of pinched nerves can vary from individual to individual. However, they often include numbness, tingling, and decreased sensations. In some cases, people suffering from a pinched nerve also experience sharp pain accompanied by aching or burning. If untreated, it’s common to experience muscle weakness in the area. All of these symptoms may worsen at night when you lie down for bed.
If symptoms persist for several days and you don’t find relief on your own then you’ll want to seek treatment. It is important to locate and treat the source of the problem rather than self-prescribing medications. While medications may mask the symptoms, they can also worsen the problem. This happens because you feel better with the medications and are more likely to overdo activities. This may cause more inflammation or worsen the originating condition that led to the pinched nerve.
Treatment for Pinched Nerves
If you suspect that you may be suffering from pinched nerves then it is best to seek treatment right away. Immediate treatment will not only limit the amount of pain and discomfort you are exposed to, but also protect the nerve from worsening.
The best place to start when you experience the symptoms of a pinched nerve is with your chiropractor. Chiropractic care offers a non-invasive treatment option that has been proven to be very effective. A chiropractor can run a series of diagnostic tests to help determine the cause of your pain. Then, through a series of spinal adjustments, they can help relieve the pressure form your nerve.
Your chiropractor may also recommend ongoing adjustments or physical therapy to ensure the problem does not reoccur. These treatment options offer a solution without surgery or medications by treating the source of the problem.
Decreasing Your Risk for Developing Pinched Nerves
Your chiropractor will be able to provide you with suggestions to help decrease the risk of pinched nerves. However, taking simple steps can also limit your risk. Practicing good posture throughout the day is a great way to limit your risk. Pay close attention to your posture as you work and relax. It’s extremely important to be mindful of your posture as you exercise and lift heavy objects as well. Taking care of your back and spine helps protect against unnecessary pressure that causes pinched nerves.
Adding strength and flexibility exercises to your daily routine can also help protect you against pinched nerves. These types of exercises build up your muscles while helping you maintain a healthy weight. Controlling your weight and strengthening your back are both shown to drastically cut back the risk for developing pinched nerves.
If you do find yourself suffering from pinched nerves then come visit our offices. Our staff will help diagnose the source of the problem while creating a treatment plan designed especially for you.