What is a pinched nerve?
To help you understand what a ‘pinched’ nerve is, let’s firstly explain how your nervous system works. Within your body, nerves extend from the brain, down the spinal cord and out into your arms and legs. These nerves are responsible for sending messages from your brain to the rest of your body. Your brain and spinal cord together are the central nervous system. The nerves that leave your spinal cord and exit the spine to the rest of your body make up the peripheral nervous system. It’s the peripheral nerves originating from your spinal cord that are the nerves that can become ‘pinched’ or irritated.A great analogy to better describe how your peripheral nerves work, is to think of your peripheral nerves like your average garden hose.
The green part of the garden hose is the fine outer membrane of the nerve fiber. The inside of the hose transports the nerve messages like water, from your central nervous system to their destination within your body.If your nerve is being ‘pinched’, just like a water hose, the nerve flow up and down the inside of the hose is reduced or blocked, meaning your nerves messages are being disrupted. Eventually, the nerve starts to lose its healthy ability to transmit the correct messages and the nerve fiber may eventually die. When enough fibers stop working, not only can you feel pain but other symptoms may also develop.
What causes a pinched nerve?
A true ‘pinched’ nerve is when there is a specific structure directly pressing on a nerve creating symptoms. This can happen, for example, when there is a herniated disc or disc injury in your spine. The disc material itself protrudes from your disc and directly presses on the nerve root producing pain and symptoms. Other direct pressure causes include degenerative changes, such as bone spurs with arthritis or by tendon and muscle tightness.
What our Spinecare Adelaide chiropractors also find however, is that similar symptoms can be caused by the presence of inflammation around your nerves. When inflammation is present, it can create irritation to the nerves fine outer membrane. It’s this irritation that can produce similar pain and symptoms like a true ‘pinched’ nerve. A good example of this situation is when your spinal joints become fixated and jammed. This in turn creates an inflammatory reaction, which if large enough, can irritate neighbouring spinal nerves and produce pain and symptoms.To find out if you have a true ‘pinched’ nerve, contact your closest Spinecare Chiropractic clinic for a thorough spinal and nervous system assessment. Spinecare chiropractors are all fully qualified to examine your spine and nervous system function.
What does a pinched nerve feel like?
Whether you are suffering from a true ‘pinched’ nerve or not, the pain from significant nerve irritation can be excruciating! There are three main symptoms that you may feel when you are suffering from a ‘pinched’ nerve. These include pain, numbness and the feeling of pins and needles or tingling. One or all of these symptoms may be present as well other signs like muscle weakness and changes with your reflexes.One of the most common ‘pinched’ nerves is the sciatic nerve that runs from your lower back, through your buttock and down the back of your leg to your foot. When the sciatic nerve becomes ‘pinched,’ you can feel sharp shooting pain down the back of your legs, known as sciatica.
Sometimes sciatica is also accompanied by intense lower back pain with numbness or tingling in your calves or feet. In fact, the nerves from your lower back supply the feeling, movement and function for both your legs. Depending on what nerve is ‘pinched,’ these symptoms can be felt anywhere in your lower limbs. The same situation also exists for your arms and hands. All the nerves for your upper limbs come from your neck and depending on where your ‘pinched nerve’ is located, pain, numbness and tingling can occur anywhere in your arms and hands as well. Often when the nerves in the upper limbs are ‘pinched,’ it is also accompanied by neck pain.
How can Spinecare Chiropractic help with a pinched nerve?
The first step on your road to recovery is to find out whether you are suffering from a true ‘pinched’ nerve. Our Spinecare Adelaide chiropractors find that in the majority of cases your nerve irritation may not be the result of a direct cause. If you are experiencing pain, numbness or tingling in your arms or legs, then it may be as a result of spinal dysfunction and irritation that can be quickly and painlessly helped with chiropractic care.The first step your Spinecare chiropractor will take is to perform a thorough spinal and nervous system examination during Your Initial Consultation, to determine if there are any direct structural causes. Secondly, your Adelaide Spinecare chiropractor will sit down and explain your results so that you can easily understand what is causing your problem during Your Report of Findings. If chiropractic care is appropriate for you, your chiropractor will make a recommendation for your care and outline their expectations.
Spinecare Chiropractic prides itself on providing safe, modern and painless chiropractic care for ‘pinched’ nerve related symptom relief.