If you’re suffering from a stiff neck, back or hip pain, or numbness and tingling in your arms and legs, you may have a pinched nerve. Pinched nerves are relatively common. According to the Cleveland Clinic, 85 in every 100,000 Americans experience pinched nerves. The symptoms you feel from a pinched nerve in your back may vary depending on where you pinched your nerve, and the resulting pain can range from subtly annoying to entirely debilitating.
The good news is, pinch nerves may be generally treatable through the support of a chiropractor or a physical therapist. O’Dell chiropractic may take a necessary x-ray to determine the cause and help remove a pinched nerve.
What is a Pinched Nerve?
Nerves function as the body’s communication system, relaying messages between your your brain and the rest of your body. A pinched nerve occurs when nearby tissue from bone, muscle, tendons, or cartilage compresses one of these nerves at the root. Since most nerve roots originate along the spine and travel outwards, pinched nerves in your back can occur anywhere from your neck (cranial spine) to your lower back (lumbar spine). When a nerve is pinched, it can cause pain and discomfort in the neck, back, hips and various parts of the body, making it difficult to maintain normal daily functioning.
Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve
The symptoms you experience from a pinched nerve may differ slightly depending on which nerve is being pinched and how much it’s compressed. For example, a mildly pinched nerve may feel like a stiff neck or back, while a severely pinched nerve could result in numbness or even partial paralysis. A pinched nerve in the lumbar spine may cause pain in the lower back with weakness and tingling down the legs, while a pinched nerve in the thoracic spine could show up as radiating chest pain, difficulty rotating the torso, and tingling in the upper chest and back.
In general, the most common symptoms of a pinched nerve are relatively consistent, even if they show up differently in various parts of the body. The typical symptoms of a pinched nerve may include:
- Sharp or focused pain that radiates out
- Pins and needles
- Numbness or tingling in the extremities
- Pain down the arm or leg
- Burning sensations
- Muscle weakness
- Limited range of motion
What Causes a Pinched Nerve?
Compression of the nerves along the spine can happen for a number of reasons, but the most common cause is a herniated disk. When the disk slips out from between two vertebrae, it can compress adjacent nerve. That can result in uncomfortable sensations along that nerve, depending on which nerve. For example, a pinched nerve in the cervical spine might cause a stiff neck, or it could lead to numbness down the arm and into the fingers.
Other common causes of pinched nerves in the back include:
- Injury to the spine or neck
- Obesity or excessive weight gain
- Overuse from athletic activity or repetitive motion
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Degradation or compression of the spine due to aging
- Other spinal conditions such as bone spurs, stenosis, spondylolisthesis
How Do You Treat a Pinched Nerve in Your Back?
While many pinched nerves can actually go away on their own after a few weeks of rest, many of us struggle to give our bodies the time they need to fully recover. But can you fix a pinched nerve in your back if your unwilling to just rest and wait it out?
Rest is important for any healing practice, however you may be able to relieve pain from a pinched nerve by:
- Using over-the-counter pain relievers
- Avoiding activities that aggravate the affected area
- Applying heat or ice
- Practicing gentle stretching
- Using a foam roller or roller ball to release tension
- Changing your posture when standing, sitting, sleeping, or working to avoid aggravating the area
Additionally, certain stretches and exercises may actually help to lengthen the spine and alleviate mild compression that is pinching the nerve in your neck or lower back. Always consult a healthcare professional before beginning exercises on your own, or seek the support of a chiropractor or physical therapist. While many of the above activities can help alleviate pain from a pinched nerve, they may not actually fix the problem, especially if the pinch is more severe. Luckily, chiropractic care can do wonders to treat a pinched nerve and alleviate your pain.
Chiropractic Care for a Pinched Nerve
Since most pinched nerves are caused by alignment issues within the spine and surrounding tissue, Chiropractic care can have great success in treating the pinched nerve and alleviating pain. Using a combination of manual therapy and state of the art tools, chiropractic treatment can noninvasively decompress the spine and realign the discs and surrounding tissue to free trapped nerves.
At O’Dell Family Chiropractic, we strive to provide complete care for each of our patients. Our practitioners are well versed in the language of the spine and take a comprehensive approach to treat the root cause of your nerve pain. If you’re located in the Rochester or Webster area, we would love to help you get you back to the pain-free life you want to be living. Contact us today at (585) 671-9210 or fill out our new patient form schedule an appointment.