What is a Pinched Nerve?
A pinched nerve can occur in different parts of the body. When it does, it is not only painful but can limit function and mobility. In many cases, a chiropractic professional may be able to reduce or relieve the pain. Read on to learn more about pinched nerves, courtesy of Arlington Chiropractic Clinic, P.C., in Arlington Heights, Illinois.
The term “pinched nerve” is really a bit of a misnomer. The condition occurs when nearby structures such as bones, cartilage, muscles or tendons put pressure on and irritate the nerve. The pressure disrupts the nerve’s function by preventing signals from moving up and down the nerve. It can also cause pain, numbness, tingling or weakness. Sometimes the symptoms occur in the area where there is increased pressure, but it can also be in more distant areas – radiating or referred symptoms.
What Causes a Pinched Nerve?
Quite a few things can result in symptoms of pinched nerves. In the spine, two of the most common causes are a herniated disc or bony overgrowth. The disc is a tough, gel-filled cushion between the vertebrae. The disc may protrude or rupture into the spinal canal, putting pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerves. Bony overgrowth from arthritis and bone spurs can also result in increased pressure. In the wrist, it is the tendon, ligaments and swelling in the carpal tunnel that causes increased pressure. Injuries in the spine or extremities may result in scar tissue build-up that pinches a nerve.
How is a Pinched Nerve Diagnosed?
The first step in making a diagnosis is to review the patient’s symptoms. Typical signs and symptoms include:
- Numbness in the area the nerve supplies.
- An aching, burning or sharp pain.
- Tingling or pins and needles sensations.
- Weakness in the affected area.
In addition, the doctor will perform an examination and may recommend diagnostic studies such as an x-ray to look for bony overgrowth, an MRI to visualize disc material and other soft tissue structures, or electromyography which measures electrical signals in the nerves.
Pinched Nerve and Chiropractic Treatment
The treatment of pinched nerves depends on the cause of the problem. If a bulging disc is the source, spinal adjustments and traction may be effective. Extremity manipulation is often used when a joint is misaligned in the elbow, wrist or ankle. Massage and acupuncture can bring improvement if muscle tension or soft tissues are the problems. Even something as simple as improved posture plus stretching and strengthening exercises may be used in treatment. Nutritional supplementation may also be helpful, such as B vitamins which support nerve function.
If you suffer from the symptoms of a pinched nerve, please contact Arlington Chiropractic Clinic, P.C. at (847) 259-4493. Or come by our office, located at 1702 W. Campbell Street in Arlington Heights for a free “meet and greet” with the doctor.