Pinched nerves can cause a range of painful side effects that impair your quality of life. If you’re suffering from symptoms like shooting pain, numbness, and muscle weakness, you may also deal with the professional and personal difficulties that come with a long-term injury. Luckily, pinched nerves are treatable with chiropractic care.
A chiropractor from our team can diagnose the cause of your nerve-related symptoms, treat the underlying problem, and help you experience symptom relief. We may use a range of chiropractic adjustments and secondary treatments tailored to your healthcare needs. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to schedule your initial intake exam.
Our Chiropractor Answers: What Is a Pinched Nerve?
If you’ve ever experienced nerve pain, you know how debilitating it can be. It’s not only painful, but it also causes symptoms that can range from severely distressing to annoying to live with. Muscle weakness and numbness are more than just uncomfortable. They can affect your productivity, your sleep, and your everyday functioning.
While many different health problems can cause pinched nerves, several common risk factors may make them more common. Columbia University Irving Medical Center cites these conditions as risk factors for pinched nerves:
- Bulging or herniated discs
- Degenerative disc disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
In conditions like these, protrusions in the spinal canal may pinch the nerves in and around the spine, resulting in unpleasant symptoms.
Pinched nerves can also occur as a result of accidents and injuries that affect the spinal column. These could include:
- Car accidents
- Sports and recreational injuries
- Workplace injuries
These injuries can also develop over time because of chronic misuse, poor posture, or repetitive motions. For example, someone who constantly drops their neck to look at a computer screen could develop a pinched nerve in their neck, or someone who lifts boxes regularly could have a pinched nerve in their lower back.
How Your Chiropractor Diagnoses a Pinched Nerve
Your chiropractor will need to do some tests to better understand your condition. Getting an accurate diagnosis and a good understanding of the problem is the first step in developing a care plan that provides options to manage your symptoms, treat the underlying injury, and strengthen your body.
These tests may involve providing a thorough health history and undergoing a physical exam during which our team will assess your symptoms, muscle strength, sensitivity to stimuli, and pain levels. During these exams, you may be asked to lie on your back and lift your arms or legs. Pain and weakness are strong indications of an underlying problem.
You may also need more detailed testing, such as:
- X-ray imaging. X-rays will help your chiropractor see if there are issues with your vertebrae. Herniated, bulging, degenerating, or slipped discs (common causes of pinched nerves) are fairly easy to see with an X-ray.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. An MRI will show soft tissue damage in the discs, spinal cord, and nerves. Unlike an X-ray, an MRI can provide a cross-sectional view that better shows pressure areas and abnormalities.
- Computed tomography (CT) scans. CT scans are a combination of many X-rays that create a more detailed image of the inside of the body. Taking a CT scan at different angles gives your chiropractic the “full picture” regarding your condition.
- A myelogram. A myelogram requires a contrast dye that helps physicians measure nerve responses. The dye will make problems in the spinal cord, nerve roots, and adjacent spinal structures more visible.
- Electromyography (EMG). EMG specifically measures nerve responses through electrodes. Your chiropractic doctor will ask you to contract and relax certain muscles to measure their electrical responses.
Depending on the cause of your pinched nerve, your chiropractor may need to use a gentler or more robust approach. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all chiropractic treatment for every condition. Using this approach to determine your needs, our doctor can assess your condition, diagnose you, and set you on the healing process. This is what we will consider when developing your personalized treatment plan for a pinched nerve.
We Prescribe Chiropractic Adjustments to Fix a Pinched Nerve
While adjustments often provide immediate relief from pain and nerve issues, they usually accompany other treatments to bring long-term improvement. We prescribe them as a part of a comprehensive plan that addresses your symptoms and heals the problematic part of your spine that is causing your pinched nerve symptoms.
When it comes to chiropractic care, your chiropractor may use one or a combination of the following adjustment techniques to treat your pinched nerve:
- Diversified adjustments. This well-known technique uses gentle pressure and movements that force the back into alignment, often resulting in audible “popping.”
- Seated diversified adjustments. These manual adjustments require the patient to sit up. This method is best for neck and shoulder injuries.
- Lumbar side posture adjustments. For this chiropractic treatment, the patient usually lays on their side with one leg bent. Manipulating the spine from this position is great for lower back pain.
- The Thompson Drop-Table Technique. This method requires the use of a multi-segmented table. With the patient lying on the table, the chiropractor will gently thrust on the spine to make adjustments. The table will drop with each thrust, limiting the amount of force on the patient to reduce pain and risk of injury.
- Knee-chest adjustments. For cervical spine issues, knee-chest adjustments allow the doctor to manipulate the neck and upper back. The patient will often lie with their chest down on an exam table.
- Manual extremities adjustments. This treatment may be especially beneficial for pinched nerve patients, as the doctor can manipulate specific parts of the body to produce relief from pain and numbness. They may adjust your hip, knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow, or wrist.
- Toggle recoil. This gentle adjustment technique is perfect for more sensitive spines, as the chiropractor uses smaller, quicker thrusts to make adjustments.
- The activator method. Rather than using thrusts and hands-on manipulation, in the activator method, the doctor will use a small instrument that emits a high-velocity, low-amplitude force for controlled adjustments.
- The sacral-occipital technique (SOT). To target specific areas of the body, like the head and neck, pelvis, and extremities, your doctor may use the SOT.
- Flexion-distraction. Another gentle manipulation technique, flexion-distraction requires pulling on the spine to decrease pressure between discs and widen the spaces. This aims to relieve pinched nerves and mobility issues.
We Prescribe Massage and Physical Therapy as Part of Pinched Nerve Treatment
Spine and musculoskeletal issues affect every area of the body. As a result, patients with pinched nerves often suffer from muscle pain, joint stiffness, and soreness. To provide whole-body care that both relieves symptoms and facilitates recovery, your chiropractor may also provide physiotherapy services as a part of your care plan.
These services are important because they can help you manage symptoms and rebuild the strength lost since your injury occurred. We do not want you to suffer additional injuries when you return to work or other activities. Instead, we believe in addressing your overall health and well-being so you can safely participate in all activities.
To this end, your comprehensive treatment plan for a pinched nerve could include services such as:
- Corrective care, which is meant to help your body maintain improvements in posture and function
- Rehabilitation, which is meant to help you regain muscle control and mobility
- Massage and ultrasound therapy, which are meant to improve mobility, stiffness, and pain levels while facilitating tissue growth and healing
- Electrical muscle stimulation (E-STIM) therapy, which is meant to strengthen muscles, improve circulation to facilitate healing, and block pain signals
Our Chiropractors Use At-Home Posture Correction, Stretching, and Exercises
Symptom relief can go a long way toward improving your spine’s health and quality of life. However, pinched nerve sufferers often must take charge of their own treatment to make adjustments stick. To this end, your chiropractor may prescribe at-home stretches, exercises, and posture-correcting techniques. Sometimes, twenty minutes a day on a posture-correcting pillow can re-teach proper alignment to your spine. Interventions like these help adjustments stick, so you experience symptom relief for longer. We also use strengthening and stretching techniques as a part of our in-clinic support for patients who come to us with pinched nerve symptoms.
We believe helping you get stronger and more flexible will reduce your risk of another neck or back injury and reduce your risk of many other injuries. We can even help you target specific body parts or muscle groups based on your work, sport, or other everyday activities. We want to help you get and remain healthy through chiropractic care.
Specific Care Chiropractic Can Help You Experience Symptom Relief for a Pinched Nerve
If you’re suffering from a pinched nerve, our chiropractors and physiotherapists can design a treatment plan that’s right for you. We will take your overall health and needs into consideration as we plan your treatment interventions. We want to collaborate with you to provide a long-term plan for symptom relief and overall health.
Call (239) 369-9109 to schedule your initial appointment with our team. We have three Florida locations to serve you: Cape Coral, Fort Myers, and Lehigh Acres.