Pinched Nerves and Chiropractic Treatment
For 23 years now, I have been providing chiropractic care for families in Ellicott City, Howard County, and the surrounding areas in Maryland. Often during that time I have had patients come to my office who have pinched nerves and have been suffering pain from pinched nerves. Pinched nerves have many symptoms, but in each case, the nerves are being irritated, pinched, or experiencing pressure from inflammation. Pinched nerves in the neck are very common.
Symptoms of Pinched Nerves
- Headaches & Migraines
- Lower- or mid-back pain
- Neck pain
- Numbness, burning sensation, or tingling in the arms and legs, or even toes
- Pain radiating down your arm or leg
- Shoulder pain
- Spinal pain
- And Many More
Individuals experiencing pinched nerves may also have trouble sitting for long periods of time, have a limited range of motion, and even sleeping in certain positions. It is also common to experience problems bending backward or forward, or standing up from a seated position. A pinched nerve, or irritated nerve, causes pain and can even be responsible for muscle spasms. Pinched nerves can lead to various other health problems because the nerves being pinched control the functions of your internal organs and muscles.
Four Basic Causes of Pinched Nerves
- Subluxation or Misalignment of the Spine
A subluxation is a misalignment of a bone in the spine that puts pressure on, pinches, or irritates a spinal nerve. These nerves exit the spine and coordinates and control different functions and parts of the body. Subluxations, misalignments, cause pain and different types of muscle spasms.
- Disc Degeneration or Degenerative Disc Disease
The spinal disc is the spacer or cushion between the bones, and it functions like a shock absorber. When the disc begins to lose its height, or gets thinner, the disc has begun to degenerate (degenerative disc disease). As a disc degenerates the hole that the nerve comes out becomes smaller. The hole the nerves exit your spine from is called the “intervertebral foramina.” As that hole goes from bigger to smaller, because of disc degeneration, it allows less room for the nerve to exit, which can put pressure on the nerve.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease. Because there are joints on the backside of the intervertebral foramina (the hole where the nerve comes out), osteoarthritis can sometimes cause degeneration or bone spurs, which can expand into the hole (intervertebral foramina) and actually put pressure on the nerve.
- Disc Protrusions or Disc Herniation
When a disc herniates, or protrudes out, and pushes up or comes close to the nerve, it can irritate the nerve. Normal movements can cause the herniated disc to rub against the nerve causing pain and irritations. The greater the protrusion, the greater the pressure that is placed on the nerve, causing a pinched nerve. (The graphic to the right shows a herniated disc pressing against a nerve in the spine. Highlighted in red.)
Any combination of these four causes, including all four simultaneously, can cause pinched nerves. Pinched nerves can sometimes result in a chemical neuritis — in just about all four of these causes — due to irritation or to inflammation, which means that the nerves can be irritated chemically from the inflammatory process as well.
Treating Pinched Nerves
When a patient has a pinched nerve, and they’re having any of the above symptoms, our goal is to find the source of the problem and correct it. The first thing we do is a comprehensive consultation including your health history. Next we do a full examination with orthopedic, chiropractic, neurological, and physical exam tests to check and see if you have interference to the nerves. To understand the underlying cause of the problem, we will test reflexes, sensory testing, and various orthopedic and neurological tests including detailed posture analysis. Posture is like a window to the spine and postural imbalances can indicate spinal misalignments and pinched nerves. That’s why so many health problems have been proven to be related to postural problems.
We also take x-rays of the spine, when needed, to determine exactly what your spinal alignment looks like, looking for any disc degeneration, and checking for any osteoarthritis which can be effecting or putting pressure on the nerves.
After we have completed exams and reviewed the results, we will put together a plan designed not only to correct or alleviate your pain, but to correct the underlying cause of your problem, and stabilize and strengthen the effected area.
What Happens When Pinched Nerves Go Untreated?
The cause of your problem when a pinched nerve goes untreated or uncorrected will continue to get worse. When there is a subluxation, or misalignment, and the spine is not moving properly the body will go through a degenerative change. Your osteoarthritis, disc degeneration, misalignment, disc herniation, or combination of these four will continue to get worse.
At World Class Chiropractic our goal is to find and correct your problem, and if possible prevent you from needing surgery. It is important to know that proper treatment and maintenance can stop a degenerative process from getting worse. If you do not correct the underlying cause of the problem, the problem will get progressively worse and some people will end up in the situation where they will need surgery.
Why You Should Use Chiropractic Care to Treat Pinched Nerves
Chiropractic care is designed to find and correct the underlying problem causing your pinched nerve, and not just treat the symptoms. At World Class Chiropractic, once we have figured out exactly what the underlying cause of your problem is, we will give you recommendations designed to correct the problem. Typically to correct a subluxated or misaligned spine causing pinched nerves we perform specific, scientific, gentle chiropractic adjustments, which moves the spine from the misaligned, or bad position, into a better, proper position that increases the range of motion of the joints. We work to alleviate or take the pressure off the nerve itself. In conjunction, we design programs consisting of specific exercises and protocols that will rehabilitate, strengthen and stabilize the effected area.
Too often, when many people have the symptoms of a pinched nerve the first thing that they do is turn to some kind of over-the-counter medication or prescribed medication which helps to decrease or alleviate the pain or the inflammation. However, this does not correct the underlying cause of the problem. Obviously it makes someone feel better for a while, but since it does not correct the underlying cause of the problem, the problem if it is not corrected will get worse and may even get to the point where sometimes it is uncorrectable.
Call World Class Chiropractic at 410.461.3435 to arrange an appointment, or use one of our convenient appointment forms. We will find the underlying cause of your pinched nerve and put together an individualized plan to correct it. If any of your friends and family can benefit from this article, please recommend this article to them.