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Can a Chiropractor Help with a Pinched Nerve?

Benefits and Efficacy of Chiropractic Care for Pinched Nerve

Chiropractor for a pinched nerve in Anchorage or Juneau: There are many different pinched nerve symptoms. The most common symptoms are often confused with other issues, so it’s important to see a trained professional for proper diagnoses. Our excellent Better Health chiropractors can help with pinched nerves. 

Pinched nerves, known in the medical community as radiculopathy, are when a nerve is pinched in the spine, causing pain, numbness, and sometimes weakness. Chiropractic care for pinched nerves has been shown to be an effective means of treatment in various studies. The most common treatments include spinal adjustments, flexion-distraction techniques, and massage therapy.

Can a Chiropractor Help a Pinched Nerve?

A woman lying on her side, having a treatment in her shoulder by a chiropractor.

There are a number of ways that healthcare professionals deal with pinched nerves. The most common causes of pinched nerves include bulging or herniated discs in the back and neck, or inflammation of the nerves where they move through joints. 

For this reason, anti-inflammatory drugs can help provide temporary pain relief, which is often the go-to tactic for many physicians. This, combined with a wait-and-see approach, is common. Unfortunately, waiting for a pinched nerve to go away can make things worse and prolong treatment. Or, in severe cases, it can cause permanent damage to the nerve.

Chiropractic care for a pinched nerve reduces pain with natural anti-inflammatory treatments. Then, once the doctor has reduced the pain, they will aim to correct the problem causing the pinched nerve, so it doesn’t recur. These corrections are always non-invasive and natural. With chiropractic care, you can always expect natural treatments for pinched nerves.

Chiropractor for Pinched Nerve Studies

There is a growing number of studies detailing the effectiveness of chiropractic care in treating pinched nerves. Below are a few studies done in recent years detailing the treatment of pinched nerves in the back and neck. 

Can a Chiropractor Help a Pinched Nerve in the Back?

The back — especially the lower back — is a common area for pinched nerves. The low back is flexible and is constantly under stress. As a result, it’s common for bulging or herniated discs to pinch nerves exiting the spinal column. This can cause various symptoms, the most common of which are:

  • Back Pain
  • Trouble Sitting
  • Numbness and Tingling Down One or Both Legs
  • Sciatica

A 2008 study of 162 patients with a pinched nerve in the lumbar spine found chiropractic care to be largely effective. After an average of 9 treatment sessions, 85% of the patients in the study experienced relief of their primary symptoms. 

Another study detailed the chiropractic treatment of a 31-year-old man with a pinched nerve in the low back due to a large herniated disc. The doctor of chiropractic prescribed a multimodal approach which included non-loading exercises, press-ups, flexion-distraction, and side posture manipulation. The treatment protocols worked, allowing the man to get back to work less than a month after his initial symptoms began. A follow-up 169 days later showed “no significant symptoms or lifestyle restrictions.”

Can a Chiropractor Help a Pinched Nerve in the Neck?

The neck is a common place for a pinched nerve. The mobility of the neck makes it susceptible to radiculopathy. The symptoms of a pinched nerve in the neck include:

  •  Headaches
  •  Neck Pain
  •  Shoulder Pain
  •  Numbness or Tingling Down One or Both Arms
  •  Trouble Sleeping

One study of cervical radiculopathy included a small group of participants and featured treatments of chiropractic manual therapy, namely flexion distraction. The study found that most of the patients experienced significant relief with between just 8 and 13 sessions. 

Another study detailed the treatment of a 55-year-old office worker with a pinched nerve in the neck. This patient was experiencing severe neck pain and numbness down one arm. After only 12 chiropractic sessions, the patient experienced complete relief of the symptoms and restored neck curvature. 

Can a Chiropractor Help a Pinched Sciatic Nerve?

Closeup side view of an early 60’s senior gentleman having some lower back pain. He’s at laying sideways on the examination table while the doctor is touching and massaging his lower back area.Sciatica is a good example of a common pinched nerve. Since the sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body and it runs down from the lumbar spine through the buttocks and down the back of the leg, it’s a prime candidate for irritation. 

A herniated disc in the lower back can press on the sciatic nerve, causing pain in the back and down the leg. But chiropractic care can help. 

A man getting treatment in his lower back by a chiropractor.

This study details a woman suffering from severe sciatic nerve pain and leg swelling. A cardiologist could find no cause for the leg swelling. The woman sought help from a chiropractor who successfully treated her for both sciatica pain and leg swelling.

Spinal Manipulation for a Pinched Nerve

Spinal manipulation is one of many treatment options chiropractors offer. They use these spinal adjustments in cases where the pinched nerve results from a bulging spinal disc. These manipulations are done in a few different ways but are most commonly done by hand. The chiropractor will apply a specific amount of thrust in a specific direction to relieve the pressure on the pinched nerve.

Spinal adjustments are all about bringing the spinal joints back into proper position, which can relieve the pressure on the spinal disc, which can relieve the pressure on the nerve. This, combined with other chiropractic modalities, has proven effective for many patients with spinal nerve compression, as detailed in the studies above.

Pinched Nerve: Chiropractor or Massage?

You may be considering whether to see a massage therapist or a chiropractor for a pinched nerve. The truth is that, for some pinched nerves, both can be very effective. But it’s not just any type of massage that works well; it’s chiropractic massage.

Often when a person suffers from a pinched nerve due to a spinal misalignment, chiropractic massage is used in addition to spinal manipulation to great benefit.

The muscles surrounding spinal subluxations often become tense, stretched, or weakened. This type of massage helps the muscles loosen up so that they can work to support the spine as they’re designed to do. After all, strong, healthy muscles are a big part of a healthy spine.

This is one reason why we offer chiropractic care and massage therapy at Better Health Anchorage, in addition to physical therapy modalities. By combining these different professionals under one roof, we can ensure that our patients have the best care possible for a speedy recovery.

Surgery for Pinched Nerve

Surgery should always be a last resort for a pinched nerve. Because pinched nerves are commonly pinched at the spine, the surgery can be very risky. But even successful surgeries don’t come without risks. Some of these include:

  •  Recurring Symptoms
  •  Infection
  •  Hematoma
  •  Blood Clots
  •  Nerve Injury
  •  Paralysis

Chiropractic care and surgery are on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to pinched nerve treatment. Chiropractic care is considered extremely safe, mostly because it’s non-invasive and natural. For this reason, you should always seek out conservative, natural care before considering surgery unless your symptoms are life-threatening or extremely severe.

What Will a Chiropractor Do for a Pinched Nerve?

Seeing a chiropractor for a pinched nerve is a fairly straightforward process, although many people find it more in-depth than seeing other physicians. It will start with your extensive medical history and your description of your symptoms. Next, you will undergo a thorough exam that may or may not include x-rays or an MRI. Then your doctor of chiropractic will sit down with you and formulate a treatment plan, explaining your options and the best course of action. 

Treatment plans for pinched nerves often look something like this:

  •  Pain and inflammation reduction
  •  Laser therapy
  •  Ultrasound
  •  Physical rehabilitation exercises
  •  Cold Therapy
  •  Spinal Adjustments
  •  Flexion-Distraction
  •  Exercises 
  •  Both with the chiropractor and at-home
  •  Physical Therapy
  •  For strength and muscle building
  •  Massage Therapy
  •  To promote healing, relieve pain, and help relaxation

A good chiropractor will also provide you with helpful lifestyle tips. He or she will tell you things to avoid with a pinched nerve. You may also have a posture analysis done to make sure that you do nothing more to cause the pinched nerve to return or get worse. Many chiropractors are also nutritionists and can give you tips on eating to reduce inflammation and promote healing. And, of course, if your pinched nerve is interfering with your rest, a chiropractor can give you tips on how to sleep with a pinched nerve.

Chiropractic Care for Pinched Nerve: Conclusion

There’s a growing mountain of evidence that shows how effective and safe chiropractic care is for a pinched nerve. The multi-disciplinary approach to treating pinched nerves has the best outcome in both the short and the long term.

This is why at Better Health Chiropractic, we combine chiropractic care, physical therapy, and massage therapy. We’ve helped thousands of Alaskans with pinched nerves over the years. By combining these different treatment options under one roof, we make things convenient for our patients and always aim for a fast and thorough recovery.

So if you’re looking for a chiropractor for a pinched nerve in Anchorage or Juneau, call or message us today to book an appointment. We’ll even find out all the relevant information about your insurance coverage! Message us today.

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