Pinched Nerve: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

What Is a Pinched Nerve?

Unlike so many other medical conditions, this one is exactly as it sounds…a pinched nerve. So surrounding tissue or bone or an anatomical structure is putting pressure on the nerve in question that can lead to a variety of symptoms depending on which nerve we’re talking about. The body’s tricky. You might have a pinched nerve in your thoracic spine and experience numbness in your hand. As a chiropractic clinic, we specialize in helping with radiculopathy, or pinched spinal nerves which can manifest pain or issues all over the body. Preventing further damage to the nerve is highly recommended.

What Causes a Pinched Nerve?

Ever bumped your elbow on a hard surface and felt a sensation shoot down your arm? It goes away quickly, as will many other superficial causes of pinched nerves, but when a nerve is seriously impinged problems quickly arise. Or, how about small amounts of pressure stretched out over time? Carpal tunnel happens to construction or line workers, writers (typists), musicians, etc. It could be from an injury. It could be age-related. It could be disease-related. And so on.

What Are the Signs & Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve?

Across the board, there’s a huge reservoir of signs and symptoms related to a pinched nerve. However, we’ve been treating Alaskans since 1998 and the most common symptoms we see in our Anchorage, Wasilla and Juneau chiropractic clinics would have to be:

  • General numbness – doesn’t matter where you feel it, it’s a sign that you need a checkup!
  • Pain – radiating, throbbing, pins & needles, etc.
  • Your muscles in a specific area seem especially weak.
  • Hands and feet keep feeling like they’re falling asleep, but you aren’t sleeping!

What Body Parts Does a Pinched Nerve Affect?

Well, here’s the deal, just about every part of your body is connected to a nerve in one way or another. That being said, the most common places where a nerve can get pinched involves nerve passages that go through small spaces like your wrist (carpal tunnel) for example. If we start there, we can look at what these nerves are connected to and design treatments accordingly.

How to Treat a Pinched Nerve?

Relieving a pinched nerve depends very much of each patient’s specific condition. Be sure to visit a chiropractor if you experience symptoms of a pinched nerve for longer than a few days. Or, if you take pain meds or use alternative pain relief methods, and don’t see any response. Among the biggest dangers is developing permanent nerve damage. To diagnose, there are various approaches to the pinched nerve test – conduction, EMG, MRI, ultrasound, x-ray, etc.

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How Long for a Pinched Nerve to Heal?

Good question, and of course it depends on the nerve and the nature or severity of the impingement. Was it quick and temporary or is there ongoing obstruction of nerve signals? Is it due to improper posture? Typically surgery isn’t required, and often the issue is resolved when the lifestyle issue or external factor is cleared up. What’s important to you is how long before your pinched nerve heals. If you want specific answers in person, call or stop by any Better Health Chiropractic clinic in Anchorage, Wasilla, and Juneau.

Can a Pinched Nerve Cause Chest Pain?

Yes, if the pinched nerve is located in the upper back (thoracic radiculopathy) it can cause discomfort or pain or tingling in your chest and/or torso. Beyond that, a pinched nerve can develop into a bulged disc, a herniated disc, stenosis, general disc degeneration, or worse. Again, leading eventually to permanent nerve damage.

Can a Chiropractor Help with a Pinched Nerve?

Absolutely! At Better Health Chiropractic clinics we can choose from a range of options that incorporate chiropractic care, rehabilitative therapy, chiropractic pinched nerve massage, the DRS treatment, and MCU therapy. Working with a chiropractor for pinched nerve can aid in recovery, prevent long-term damage, and decrease pain during the process of healing.

Pinched Nerve Exercises

Depending on where your pinched nerve is, exercise (along with maintaining a healthy BMI) can help so much. Yoga or Pilates classes are an amazing place to start, and pretty much any aerobic exercise like walking, biking, swimming of course, etc. After you’ve been diagnosed by a Better Health chiropractor, we can help you understand which exercises are right for your needs. For example, if it’s in your shoulder blade, we’d suggest light shoulder shrugs and chin extensions along with specific stretches.