Pins-and-needles sensation, tingling, numbness, and a feeling of muscle weakness. These are all trademark signs of a pinched nerve. Whether you’re experiencing it in your back, neck, wrist…(the list goes on!), the level of irritation can begin to feel intrusive in your day-to-day life.
If you think you may have a pinched nerve, we have some good news for you. With the right approach to healing, this injury typically responds very favorably to conservative care– and on a convenient timeline, too.
In this article, we’re diving into the root of the problem with pinched nerves, and what you can do to speed your recovery timeline.
What Is A Pinched Nerve, Anyway?
The basis of a pinched nerve is pretty simple, and is similar to how it sounds. Essentially, it occurs when a nerve is compressed (or “pinched”) excessively by the tissue surrounding it, including muscles, tendons, bones and cartilage. This can happen from an injury to a surrounding area, and can also occur when there is just too much inflammation in an area of the body.
The most common symptoms of a pinched nerve include tingling and numbness, aching or burning discomfort, and feelings of muscle weakness.
Common Areas For Pinched Nerves
A pinched nerve can happen wherever we have nerves…which is throughout our entire body. However, the classic symptoms of tingling, numbness, and loss of feeling in affected and surrounding areas stays the same. The following are some of the most common areas to experience a pinched nerve.
Mid And Lower Back
We have lots of nerves that run all along our spine, so this is by far the most common area to experience a pinched nerve. Any small injury to the back that causes an increase in inflammation could lead to a compressed nerve, but disc injuries in particular (like a herniated disc) put you much more at risk. A disc injury physically bulges and takes up more space in very close proximity to a host of nerves, increasing the chances of compressing one or more nerves in the process.
The upper spine and neck area is another extremely common place for pinched nerves to occur. That occasional “crick” in your neck may actually be a pinched nerve as a result of sleeping an odd way, or perhaps from your day-to-day posture and mechanics. Regardless, the origin of this injury site is similar to pinched nerves in the back– it originates from the spine and the complex system of nerves that run along the entire column.
Are you familiar with “carpal tunnel syndrome?” This is just another way of saying “pinched nerve in your wrist.” The pins and needles tingling sensation in your hands and forearm characterized by carpal tunnel are from a compressed nerve in the wrist. Again, this location is a very common place to feel a pinched nerve.
Treatments For Pinched Nerves
If you have a pinched nerve in a common area, fear not: there are known, effective treatment options.
One of the top treatments for a pinched nerve is cost-effective, simple, and available to everyone: rest! Resting an aggravated area is a crucial first step to getting it to calm down. Be especially careful to avoid activities that cause a spike in symptoms, and always let pain and discomfort be your indicators. Using a splint can also act as an aid in thoroughly resting the area.
However, rest alone won’t always do the trick. Aside from giving the affected area a bit of R&R, you’ll need to be able to target the root of the problem that’s causing the excessive build of pressure. This, of course, will be dependent on the location of the pinched nerve.
If you feel like you’re experiencing symptoms of a pinched nerve, it’s important to seek a diagnosis from a medical professional. Appropriate treatments will vary depending on your specific injury, location, severity, etc., and may include gentle stretching, yoga, or guided physical therapy exercises. If your pinched nerve resides in your back or neck, a change in posture could also be in order, especially if you want to rid yourself of the problem for good. Some patents have also felt relief from alternating hot and cold packs to the affected area, in an effort to reduce inflammation.
With the right combination of treatment and rest, pinched nerves usually resolve within a couple weeks.
The Role Of Chiropractic In Nerve Health
The cause of pinched nerves is a build-up of pressure surrounding specific areas– and chiropractic treatment is a great, conservative option that helps to alleviate pressure throughout the body. A chiropractic practitioner uses gentle adjustments of the spine and extremities to help to realign your body and decrease pressure and nerve sensitivity, allowing your system to restore proper function.
Because chiropractic treats the root of the problem, increased pressure, it is especially effective at treating pinched nerves. Additionally, your practitioner will be able to support your specific needs by taking a personalized approach to each session. Further, they can act as a fantastic resource to help guide any at-home exercises or treatment that may help to speed your recovery process.
Prioritize your health now.