A pinched nerve typically occurs when there is too much pressure on it from the surrounding tissue. This can happen as the result of some injury to the spine. For example, a herniated spinal disc or spinal disc rupture can cause a pinched nerve.
In the case of herniated disc, the nerve can become compressed. This condition is otherwise known as spinal disc rupture. As a result of the herniated disc and rupture, a jelly-like substance from inside the disc escapes. It exerts pressure on the nerve (essentially pinching it). Although the problem is in your spines or joints, a pinched nerve frequently causes pain in other areas of the body, such as shooting pain down the limbs. This pain may occur suddenly or slowly.
How Do You Get a Pinched Nerve?
A pinched nerve can occur when pressure is applied from other parts of the body. That pressure can be the result of injury to nearby bones, cartilage, and tendons. There are a number of conditions that may cause these tissues to affect the nerves. These include hobbies or sports activities, injury, rheumatoid arthritis, repetitive work-based stress, and obesity.
If a nerve is pinched for only a short time, the condition will leave no lasting damage. Once the pressure is relieved, nerve function should return to its normal condition. If, however, the nerve pressure continues, there could be resulting nerve damage, which may be more difficult to treat.
Symptoms of Pinched Nerves
Sometimes nerve compression and pinched nerves result in no significant or notable pain. Other times, there will be pain in the area of the pinched nerve, or as noted, there could be associated pain in other areas of the body. Other common symptoms of pinched nerves include tingling or numbness and weakness. These symptoms may be stronger during certain activities.
What Can You Do For A Pinched Nerve?
There are two main treatment approaches for a pinched nerve. You may want to start by consulting with a professional provider such as a doctor of chiropractic or a chiropractic massage therapist to assess the problem and get treatment recommendations. Then, you may be able to further address the problem through self-care approaches at home.
Chiropractic Treatment for a Pinched Nerve
Many of the causes of pinched nerves can be managed with spinal manipulation procedures.
In fact, some chiropractic methods are specifically focused on finding and treating pinched nerves. A trained chiropractor can feel the vertebrae, joints, and surrounding muscles to detect problems. For this reason, chiropractic treatment is typically helpful in curing a pinched nerve.
A doctor of chiropractic can treat pinched nerves by making adjustments to the spine and joints. This may help relax the muscles and eliminate pressure exerted on nerves. Additional specific techniques include the following methods that your chiropractor may use as needed:
One treatment that alleviates neck and back pain caused by a pinched nerve is flexion-distraction therapy. This method involves using a special table that allows for flexing procedures. This enable the chiropractor to make any needed spine and joint adjustments.
Most research studies view flexion-distraction as a frequently used chiropractic approach. Research also indicates that this approach does an excellent job of treating the patient, promoting pain relief. The flexion-distraction technique is what most chiropractors will recommend for a pinched nerve and the associated ailments.
Whenever possible, a pinched nerve should be addressed early on while it is still a minor problem. At that early stage an approach such as massage therapy may be sufficient to alleviate the problem. Many chiropractors also include massage as one of their treatment options.
One good thing about massage is that is non-invasive. It offers pain relief and helps the body to promote its own recovery. Consulting a chiropractic massage therapist will increase recovery from a pinched nerve so that the problem does not increase and cause more repercussions.
How to Treat a Pinched Nerve at Home
There are approaches you can use at home to alleviate pinched nerve pain. This is best done after consulting with a professional to assess the symptoms. Then you can follow these steps:
Step 1: Do not exhaust yourself
When you have a pinched nerve, the first thing to do is to make sure that the affected area is stress free. If at all possible, avoid strenuous activity. If you continue putting stress on the area, then you are likely to aggravate the pinched nerve and cause yourself more pain.
Step 2: Adequate Sleep and Proper Neck Placement
To recover from a pinched nerve, you will need adequate sleep for your body to be able to heal. However, you also need to be able to sleep properly so that you can avoid further injury. In order to avoid worsening the condition you need to place your spine at the right position.
If you have a pinched nerve, you must sleep with a pillow. However, you must use your pillow correctly to avoid more problems. To avoid hurting the affected area, consider sleeping on a higher pillow. If your pillow is higher, your head will be more upright, opening up the compressed area, which will relieve excess pressure from the nerve. Alternatively, you may need a lower pillow to relieve the pressure. Consult your chiropractor for specific recommendations.
Step 3: Apply Heat and Ice
Most pinched nerves are caused by swelling in some area. Applying heat and ice to the affected region can help to reduce the swelling and alleviate the pinched nerve. The application of heat and ice should be done in a certain time interval for optimal results. Typically you will want to start with ice for fifteen minutes, followed by heat for one hour. You could also consult with a professional provider for a specific regimen based on your symptoms and their causes.
Step 4: Eat Foods that will Help Alleviate the Condition
There are certain foods that can help a pinched nerve. Normally, a lack of calcium and potassium may contribute to the condition. As a result, recommended foods are those high in calcium and potassium, which include: dark green vegetables (kale, spinach), bananas, avocados, nuts (walnuts, cashews), low-fat dairy, and sesame seeds. You can consult a provider such as a chiropractor or nutritionist for more suggestions.
Step 5: Good Posture
Poor sitting positions can also aggravate a pinched nerve. You can exercise good sitting posture by sitting upright in a chair that has good back support. Also avoid sitting for extended durations. When you must be seated for a while, take breaks to stand and walk around.
Step 6: Visit a Doctor again if the Symptoms do not subside
You might experience temporary or lasting relief by using the above home treatment techniques. However, you should consult a physician if the symptoms do not remit at all or stop and return.
A doctor of chiropractic can help you develop a recovery plan to fit your specific condition. Knowing how to properly treat a pinched nerve is the next step in recovery. If you reside in Alaska, let the top chiropractor in Anchorage help you recover from your pinched nerve pain. Brent Wells has served the Alaskan community for years to assist his patients with pain relief.