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Pinched Nerve Pain

If you’ve ever had a pinched nerve before, you know it can hurt. A LOT! And it can come out of nowhere. One minute you’re feeling great, and the next you can’t turn your head, or bend over to tie up your shoes. Or you go to bed feeling great, and wake up in misery after 'sleeping wrong'. Others are more obvious, like a pinched nerve in your neck from a whiplash injury, or in your low back after lifting something you knew you shouldn't have. 

Pinched nerves are more common than you might think, and often respond well to conservative treatment like Chiropractic care. In fact, Chiropractors are pinched nerve experts. Regardless of the cause, Dr. McGahey can help get to the source of your pinched nerve pain, and formulate a treatment plan to help you feel better quickly.

Medical diagram of a pinched nerve in the neck, causing shoulder and arm pain.
Medical diagram of a pinched nerve in the lower back from a herniated disc.

What's Causing My Pinched Nerve?

Most of your nerves run from your spine and out into your body. A pinched nerve occurs when there is pressure on a nerve at some point along its length. It can occur right where the nerves exit the spine, typically by a joint or disc. Or out in the body, away from the spine, by muscles or scar tissue. The most common causes fall into just a few categories:

1. Pinched Nerve From Overuse/Wear & Tear

Common daily activities like working, sitting, standing, exercise, and physical activity place a great deal of stress on your body. Over time that stress can build up causing stiffness and soreness in your muscles and joints. As you continue these activities, inflammation and scar tissue can build up. Then one day you move the wrong way (or sleep wrong) and the next thing you know, you have a pinched nerve. It can happen that fast.

2. Pinched Nerve From A Bulging Disc

A bulging or herniated (slipped) disc can be a painful experience. It happens when a disc (the shock absorbers between your joints) starts to bulge outwards. That bulge can press on nearby nerves, causing pain, and sometimes numbness or tingling. Those symptoms often spread to your arms or legs depending on which area(s) of the spine are involved. Whiplash injuries, and bending to lift heavy objects are common causes.

3. Pinched Nerve From Poor Posture

This is more common in people who spent their time sitting at a desk or staring at a screen all day. It's incredibly difficult to maintain good posture during these activities. Eventually you slouch forward, placing increased strain on your back, neck and shoulders. Over time this can lead to a pinched nerve in your neck or back, but also other chronic conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome or sciatica. Poor posture doesn't always hurt right away, but it will catch up to you eventually.

4. Pinched Nerve From Arthritis

Arthritis is more common the older we get, and can sometimes lead to a pinched nerve. As arthritis worsens, the spaces where your nerves exit your spine can become smaller. That can irritate nerves and cause pinching, usually in the neck or lower back. Arthritis isn't a life sentence. You can’t reverse it, but you can certainly get some relief, and often a lot of relief. The goal here is to improve flexibility, which can help take stress off your joints and ease pain. Without the side effects of pain medication.

A woman sitting on a couch in a lot of pain with a pinched nerve in her neck.

Pinched Nerve Symptoms

What's the most common symptom of a pinched nerve? You guessed it, pain! But a pinched nerve can cause other, equally uncomfortable symptoms. You may have numbness or tingling in your neck, back, arms or legs. Some people also report symptoms like itching or burning. If your nerve is pinched long enough, you may develop muscle weakness. This needs to be taken seriously and evaluated right away.

Where you feel symptoms really depends on where your pinched nerve is. A pinched nerve in the neck typically causes neck pain and stiffness, that can spread to your upper back or shoulder blade. You may even experience headache pain. A pinched nerve in the lower back can cause lower back pain and stiffness, that can spreads to your hips and buttocks. You may also experience pain or other symptoms spreading to your legs or feet.

A man pointing to a spot in his lower back where he feels pain from a pinched nerve.

Pinched Nerve Treatment That Works

All pinched nerves are not created equal. They all hurt, but can come from a number of different causes. So it doesn’t make sense to treat them all the same. Your care should be specific to your problem, otherwise it probably won’t be successful. Medication can help with pain, but it likely won't solve your problem long-term.

A combination of chiropractic, and soft tissue therapies like Graston therapy and Active Release can be extremely effective at treating a pinched nerve. Regardless of whether it's a joint problem, a muscle or soft tissue problem, or a combination of both. An active treatment approach to this type of injury can make for less pain and a faster recovery. It also means getting back to the activities you enjoy faster, even if it’s just being able to sleep at night.

What Are You Waiting For?

If you’re suffering from a pinched nerve, you've come to the right place. Dr. McGahey has been helping people with pinched nerve pain since 1998, and chances are he can help you too. Chiropractic is covered by insurance, and same day appointments are available. Call or click today and start the healing process.

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