What is a Pinched Nerve?
A pinched nerve is when a nerve is irritated and/or forced against. Pinched nerves can occur in the neck, back, elbows, and wrists. However, it could happen to any part of the body. When you have a pinched nerve, your body sends a warning signal to your brain to indicate pain. This occurs when too much pressure is put on a nerve by the surrounding tissues such as bones, cartilage, muscles and tendons.
What Does it Feel Like?
Usually you’ll experience symptoms like:
- Muscle Weakness
- Pins and Needles
These symptoms usually present in a particular pattern, telling us which nerve is affected.
There can be several causes for a pinched nerve. A couple of possible causes include;
- Sitting for an extended period of time
- Poor posture
- Being pregnant
- Muscle strains
It is always recommended to get an assessment from a health practitioner, who can then properly diagnose and treat the condition. This is especially recommended if the pain has not gone away in a few weeks.
What Can You Do?
Although there are at home courses of treatment, it is strongly recommended to get an assessment done to rule out any risk factors. A chiropractor is very well positioned to assess the nervous system and can best determine which nerve is causing the pain. A chiropractor can help to treat a pinched nerve by relieving pressure from the spine. Chiropractic care can relieve pressure off the nerve from an adjustment of the spine. An adjustment helps because it re-positions your spine and relaxes your muscles which therefore reduces the pressure off the nerves.
Some other potential treatments include;
Getting a massage for a pinched nerve helps by reducing the pain as well as your stress. The massage therapist will apply gentle pressure to the affected area. The gentle pressure helps to alleviate tension and help your muscles relax. Despite what you may think, a deep tissue massage is not recommended as the added pressure may worsen symptoms.
Acupuncture is used to reduce inflammation and muscle spasms.
Gentle yoga and stretching is recommended however, be sure you don’t overdo it as stretching too far causes more pain to the area.
Heat & Ice
Alternating between heat and ice every 20 minutes is recommended. The combination of the two increases circulation of blood to the area to reduce pain. Lastly, rest is extremely important while trying to heal a pinched nerve.
The human body repairs itself during sleep. Getting more sleep allows faster healing. Sleeping in a position that takes pressure off the nerve is also important. Furthermore, health professionals might suggest a splint during sleep for pinched nerves in the wrist or hand. This is because it helps stop the wrist/hand from bending the wrong position during sleep.