Signs and Symptoms of Pinched Nerves

Nerves are like the wiring in your home or office. They carry messages from one place to another and when they get pinched, it can cause pain that may feel like a tingling sensation or pins and needles. Pinched nerves are often a result of an injury or accident, but they can also be caused by more long-term conditions like arthritis. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms we will discuss in this article, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

About 85 out of 100,000 adults in the United States experience pinched nerves. The condition is shared between the age of 25 to 45 in both women and men. It occurs due to too much pressure applied on nerves by surrounding tissues. Pinched nerves can occur in any part of the body where an injured nerve is located.

Most pinched nerves can disappear after four to six weeks, and the symptoms are manageable with home treatment. If the symptoms persist, it is advisable to seek professional guidance from a doctor.

This blog will discuss the pinched nerves, Causes, Symptoms, relief of a pinched nerve, and Pinched Nerves treatment with Chiropractic care.

What are pinched nerves?

A pinched nerve is a constricted nerve. The constriction occurs due to excessive pressure on a nerve root by surrounding tissues like muscles, bones, or cartilages. This pressure on the nerve causes pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in different parts of the body where they occur.

Most pinched nerves develop in areas like the upper-middle back, neck (cervical radiculopathy), low back or elbow, hand, and wrist. A pinched nerve on the wrist is commonly known as carpal tunnel syndrome.

Causes of a pinched nerve

A pinched nerve occurs when pressure is exerted on a nerve. The pressure may originate from repetitive and strenuous movements or the body remaining in one position for prolonged times. It can also occur due to some conditions such as:

  • An injury from an accident or sports may lead to nerve damage. It may lead to twisting or pulling that can cause a herniated disc.
  • With aging, the spine and its discs wear and tear. They even lose fluids and flatten. The bones in the spinal cord move towards each other, and in return, the body forms growth bones that can compress nerves.
  • During pregnancy, women tend to add extra weight, which might be too heavy for the body to bear. This weight can cause pressure on nerves.
  • Individuals with diabetes are likely to have pinched nerves since high sugar levels in the blood lead to nerve damage.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis causes joint inflammation. The swellings may exert pressure on nearby nerves hence causing a pinched nerve.
  • Obesity can cause a pinched nerve because the extra weight can inflate the nerve pathway and put pressure on nerves.

Symptoms of a pinched nerve

Pain in the area of compression is the most common symptom of a pinched nerve. It may be the only symptom you experience. Other symptoms of pinched nerves include:

  • Numbness in the areas that are supplied by the nerve 
  • Pins and needles sensations also known as tingling within the area of the nerve
  • Weakens when doing certain activities, which is due to weakened muscles in the affected area.
  •  Sharp or burning pain, which may radiate outward
  • Frequent feeling that a hand or foot has “fallen asleep.”

In some cases, moving the parts can ease the symptoms, but specific movements can worsen the symptom. The symptoms may also get worse when one is sleeping.

How do you relieve a pinched nerve?

The first line of treating pinched nerves is medical management which can be practiced as a home remedy. Some of these treatments include:

Ice and heat

Applying ice and heat alternatively to the affected area helps to reduce any inflammation. The hot and cold combination may also help relieve pain since it increases blood circulation to the affected area.

You can do this by holding an ice pack on the affected area for at least 15 minutes, thrice a day, and apply heat pads for up to 1 hour.

Extra sleep and rest

During sleep, the body repairs, and so sleep is essential, relieving nerve pains and other symptoms. One should try to sleep in a position that reduces the pressure on the nerve. Resting is equally necessary to prevent overusing the nerve, which may worsen the symptoms.

Pinched nerves may be worsened by a poor sitting or standing posture. Prolonged sitting and standing are also dangerous, damaging the muscles and spine and leading to pinched nerves. Using neck rests, cushions or adjustable chairs may help heal the nerve in such cases.

Pain-relieving medications

Over-the-counter pain relievers may help with treating pinched nerves. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs( NSAIDs) can ease pain and reduce swelling in minor pinched nerves. Ibuprofen and naproxen are some of the NSAIDs available easily over the counter. However, it is essential to consult a medical doctor before using NSAIDs for any possible interactions and recommendations.

Splints and cervical collars (for wrist and hand or neck)

Doctors advise using a neck collar or soft hand splint to limit motion as the nerve heals. You can also sleep with the splint on to prevent irritations and discomfort. The splint also helps in relieving pressure from the nerve.

Physical therapy

One may consult with a physical therapist for recommendations on the best exercise for the type of pinched nerve they are experiencing. Light exercise and stretches can work to ease pressure from the nerve and relieve pain.

Surgery

When nonsurgical treatment has not helped relieve pressure from the nerves, surgery is the last option.

Surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome

There are two surgical options to relieve the nerve pressure from your hand’s carpal tunnel. They include open and endoscopic surgery. Both are carried out to cut the ligament surrounding the carpal tunnel to reduce pressure from the median nerve.

With open surgery, the surgeon cuts 2-inch into the wrist and cuts the ligament directly. While in the endoscopic, the surgeon only makes one or two minor cuts, and the rest of the procedure is camera-guided.

The procedure is meant to help the ligament grow together with more space for nerve passage and reduce the symptoms. After the surgery, you are limited to some activities like driving for about 10-12 weeks until recovery.

Treating Pinched Nerves with Chiropractic Care

At Family Chiropractic Care in Longview, WA, we have licensed chiropractors who can help treat your pinched nerves. We have over 34 years of experience relieving and removing patient’s pain using advanced techniques. Whether you need services related to nerve compression, nerve roots, bone spurs, muscle weakness, or any other nerve condition, visit us for various treatment options and medical advice.

We offer services like Chiropractor for Pain Relief, Lifestyle advice, corrective exercises, spinal & postural screenings, and nutritional assessment.

You can find us at Address:1815 Hudson St Longview, WA 98632 or call Phone: (360) 636-2636 to schedule an appointment to contact Family Chiropractic Care.