Causes of pinched nerves and nerve pain
There are a multitude of different reasons for pinched nerves and the nerve issues that go along with them.
The short answer, however, is that a pinched nerve occurs when pressure is placed on the nerve by the surrounding tissue. That pressure causes the nerve to be ‘pinched’ and can result in any combination of the symptoms mentioned.
Some of the most common causes of these pinched nerves are discussed below.
Entrapment neuropathy occurs when a nerve is pinched between two things in your body. This usually takes the form of a ligament and a bone with the nerve between. It can happen as a result of repetitive motion or injury and could cause numbness, tingling, or weakness.
Peripheral neuropathy occurs primarily as a result of a traumatic injury, a metabolic condition, toxins, infection, or heredity and may cause numbness, pain, and weakness in the peripheral parts of the body. However, it could also cause other, more serious conditions, such as trouble with normal bodily functions.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Possibly one of the most commonly recognized types of pinched nerves, carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the nerve in the arm and wrist is pinched. Some individuals are more prone to this as a result of their body structure, however repetitive motion is a common cause of carpal tunnel. It can cause tingling, numbness, and weakness in the hand.
Another possible cause of pinched nerves is rheumatoid arthritis. This one is slightly different because it occurs when the body begins to attack itself, specifically the lining around the joints. This causes the lining to wear down and can result in injury. It can cause redness, swelling, tenderness, pain, stiffness, and more.
Herniated disc in spine
Discs are located between the vertebrae in the spine and keep the bones from rubbing together. A herniated disc occurs when the center portion of the disc slips out and pushes outside of the disc. This can cause pain, weakness, or numbness, especially in the arms and legs.
Where can you get a pinched nerve?
Pinched nerves aren’t just neck pain – this problem most commonly causes neck, lower back pain, or arm and shoulder pain and numbness, but often can also often cause thigh, leg, and buttocks problems.
This is a type of pinched nerve that occurs in the cervical spine. The resulting symptoms could include pain and numbness in the shoulder, arm, or a stiff neck.
The lumbar nerve is located in the lower back and, when pinched, can cause pain in the entire lower body, including the back, the hips, the buttocks, and the legs.
Finally, there is the thoracic nerve, which causes pain in your chest when pinched. Manual therapy and adjustments may help with these common conditions and lead to relief.
Risks factors for a pinched nerve
While anyone could develop a pinched nerve, there are a few situations that make it more likely. These include:
- Body position and posture – especially slouching or sitting at a computer constantly
- Arthritis in the spine – decreases the ‘cushion’ within the body
- Disc herniation/bulging disc – decreases protection between the bones
- Weight gain – can put extra stress on certain areas of the body
- Pregnancy – can also put extra stress on specific areas of the body
- Repetitive actions – can wear down ‘cushion’ within the body and cause additional strain
- Tumor – can push on different areas of the body, putting them out of normal alignment and straining nerves
- Traumatic injury – can cause a sudden change in the way that the nerves sit in the body
- Scar tissue – can push on different areas of the body, putting them out of normal alignment
- Genetics – can affect the overall composition of the body
The more of these risk factors you have, the higher your risk of ultimately developing a pinched nerve, though the severity and location may vary.
Ways to treat pinched nerves
Some methods of treatment are easy for you to carry out yourself, and some are outpatient and walk in treatment, while others require a doctor or neurologist. While relief seems to be the primary goal, it’s very important not to injure yourself further with inappropriate treatments.
- Chiropractic adjustments
- Plenty of rest
- Improvement of posture
- Ergonomic workstations
- Over-the-counter pain reliever
- Massage/physical therapy
- Hot/cold therapy
- Lifestyle changes
- Elevate affected area
- Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression Therapy
What Kind Of Doctor To See For a Pinched Nerve
While it is possible for a pinched nerve to resolve itself, it’s best not to ignore it. Chiropractic care is an outpatient process that can quickly find the cause and potentially eliminate the issues through manual adjustments and other non surgical treatments. Resting the affected area is the first thing to do and treating with over-the-counter pain medication as needed can help.
How is a pinched nerve diagnosed
If you suspect you have a pinched nerve that is causing pain, pursing non surgical treatment is the least invasive and most lifestyle friendly course of action. If chiropractic adjustments have not given the pain relief you need, then you may need to move forward into further diagnostic steps. You can talk to your chiropractor about getting a referral to pursue treatments further.