Can a Chiropractor fix a pinched nerve?

What is a pinched nerve?

Pinched or trapped nerves can be very frustrating because they refer pain to other areas and can trick the patient in to thinking the pain is coming from elsewhere and by not treating the root cause of the issue prolongs the suffering.

Trapped nerves are most found in the neck and low back. They can be caused by several reasons and will refer pain into the legs and arms.  

What causes a pinched nerve

A nerve can be trapped or pinched by:

-Disc prolapse

-Inflammation from a muscle

-Osteoarthritis of the vertebra-causes narrowing of the foramen (hole) the nerve runs through

When the nerve gets interfered with it will then refer pain down the arm or leg, this can feel like hand or foot pain. It is difficult to then explain why the issue is then in the neck or low back.

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What does a pinched nerve feel like?

It can be a deep ache, severe shooting pain and often pins and needles in the fingers and legs. If you can try to be aware of where the pain is through the arm, describe is it on the front of the arm and which fingers are affected, this gives us information about which nerve is affected and we can get the diagnosis a lot quicker.

Pain can also refer into the shoulder blade, buttocks and down the back and up into the head and cause headaches as well.

Sciatica is a pinched nerve in the base of the spine, this can cause severe shooting pain in the leg and buttocks, numbness in parts of the leg,

How to relieve a pinched nerve fast?

The first aim is to take pressure off the nerve to let it function normally and take the pain away from the leg or arm.

This is done by:

  1. Stretching-you can do several stretches to alleviate muscle spasms on the nerve.
  2. Use ice to bring the inflammation down.
  3. Taking anti-inflammatories to help with the inflammation, I’m not as keen on this as a Chiropractor but if the pain is excruciating then this is sometime a must.
  4. Seeking professional help

Can sitting too much cause a pinched nerve?

‘Sitting is the new smoking’, this is the phrase that is in the Chiropractic sphere now, I’m not sure how true this is. What we can confirm is that sitting is NOT good for your spine. It compresses the neck and low back which can put you at risk of a trapped nerve.

Trying to stand where possible and using your core to stabilise your spine will keep the nerves free from sustained compression.

Can a Chiropractor fix a pinched nerve?

Yes, Chiropractors are trained to locate, diagnose, and treat nerve issues in your spine. They spend 5 years training their skills of locating nerve interference and pinched nerves.

They use many tests, palpation and sometimes x-rays to build a diagnosis and treatment plan for you to give you the best prognosis and plan of care to get you back to your goals and full function.

How fast can a chiropractor fix a pinched nerve?

This depends on how long the problem has been there and the severity of it.

If you have woken up that morning with a locked neck and you are in your 20’s and never had this issue before then it is likely this can be resolved quickly.

Often within 24 hours following Chiropractic treatment the patient will be feeling better and looser with less pressure on the trapped nerve.

If the patient is in their 60’s, the back pain has bene there for 20 years and this is a common reoccurrence then it is unlikely to be fixed in one session. If there is osteoarthritis and degeneration in the spine it takes longer to free the nerve up.

If the reason for the trapped nerve is a disc bulge this can also take time, discs can take anywhere from 6-18 months to fully heal due to the poor blood supply.

What happens if you let a pinched nerve go untreated?

If it is left for too long this can cause irreparable damage to the nerve. If you think of the nerve like an electrical wire with a coloured casing around the outside, if there is damage to the casing the copper gets exposed, this can then become damaged, and it interferes with the reliability of the wire carrying the current.

The same principle applies with nerves in the body, if they are pinched for long periods, months, or years then the messages cannot go through the nerves to the cells or muscles.

Symptoms you may see are foot drop, the foot scuffs along the floor as the nerve cannot pick the foot up when the patient walks. If you do have signs of this, please seek professional help immediately as it can become permanent.

Most of the time nerves can be treated without permanent damage occurring, don’t leave it for too long.

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If you do know someone who wants more advice, please send them our details. You can send them this assessment as well to diagnose their back pain. It is a great tool to understand where your back pain is coming from, it is free and takes 60 seconds. Click here for assessment

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