5 Best Ways to Treat Pinched Nerves

Best way to treat a pinched nerve

Best Way to Treat a Pinched Nerve?

There is no doubt that a pinched nerve can be extremely painful.  A nerve can get pinched when too much pressure is placed upon it by surrounding tissues.  Nerves can be pinched or irritated by nearby bones, muscles, tendons, and cartilage, disrupting the nerve’s ability to function.  In this article, we are going to focus on how to find the best way to treat a pinched nerve depending on your specific situation.

How Does A Pinched Nerve Happen and What are the Symptoms?

In general, nerves perform one of two functions: they carry signals about movement (motor nerve) or sensation (sensory nerves). Depending on the characteristics of the impacted nerve, a person may experience pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness.

The nerves in your body follow known pathways.  Your brainstem and spinal cord pass through a central canal housed in the middle of your spinal column.  Nerve roots branch off the spinal cord and pass through openings in between each vertebra. The ones that branch off your spinal cord in the neck provide movement and feeling to the shoulders, arms, and hands. 

A common condition related to a pinched nerve in the neck is carpal tunnel syndrome.  Nerves that emerge from your lower back travel through the hips, buttocks, down the leg, and into the foot.  A pinched nerve in your lower spine can cause sciatic nerve pain (sciatica) and weakness in the legs or feet.

One of the most common causes of a pinched nerve is a herniated disc.  The discs are the “cushions” that separate each of your vertebral segments and act as shock absorbers.  Because of an injury or wear and tear over time, a disc can weaken and become damaged. A pinched nerve can be a result of a disc that has degenerated and worn thin, or from a herniation of the inner material of the disc that can push on the nerve root or spinal cord.  Bone spurs, muscle spasms, and inflammation can be contributing factors as well.

While back or neck pain is often a good clue that a nerve may be affected, other signs and symptoms of a pinched nerve can include:

  • A decrease in sensation in the area of the nerve
  • Numbness, tingling, or pins and needles sensations
  • Radiating pain that can be sharp, aching, or burning
  • Muscle weakness in the area served by the affected nerve
  • Feeling like your arm, hand, foot, leg, etc. frequently “falls asleep”
  • Symptoms that can worsen at night and disrupt your sleep
  • Pain that becomes worse with coughing, sneezing, or bearing down

pinched nerve relief infographic

5 Non-Invasive Options for Pinched Nerve Relief

Before resorting to less conservative, more invasive treatment options for a pinched nerve, consider the following five effective steps one of these may be the best way to treat a pinched nerve for your specific situation:

#1: Check your posture

Take a good look at your posture when sitting or standing.  When you have a pinched nerve, you may need to make adjustments to your body position in order to find some relief.  As a good practice, make sure you do not slouch over, round your shoulders forward, or bear more weight on one leg.  Common postural problems that can lead to imbalances over time include always crossing the same leg over the other when sitting, bending the neck forward for extended periods of time while on a mobile device, or using improper lifting techniques.

#2: Rest

When you have a pinched nerve in the neck or back, resting and avoiding pain-generating activities can help you get back on your feet faster.  Getting enough sleep is also essential to the healing process.

#3: Alternate ice and heat

Sometimes called contrast therapy, using ice and heat alternately can help reduce inflammation by encouraging fresh blood to flow into the area.  Doing so can speed up healing and provided needed pain relief.

#4: Loosen tight muscles

If tight muscles are contributing to your pinched nerve, trying some gentle stretching, massage therapy, or yoga can help to alleviate the pressure.  Go easy at first, as you don’t want to risk causing more irritation to an already inflamed area.

#5 Chiropractic care

It is a natural fit to see a chiropractor for a pinched nerve.  Since nerves and your spine are intimately related, it is imperative to keep your spine well aligned to prevent issues related to pinched nerves.

Get Specific with Your Care with Upper Cervical Chiropractic

Upper cervical chiropractic care can help you to address the underlying cause of a pinched nerve, whether it be in your neck, lower back, or elsewhere in the spine.  A misalignment will often occur at the junction between the head and neck, and from there begin to create a series of compensations throughout the rest of the spine.

If the upper neck is out of alignment, the body will go through great lengths to keep the head upright and eyes level with the horizon.  This can result in one shoulder being higher than the other or one hip uneven to the other. Unequal stress and strain from side to side in your body can result in the pinching of nerves.

If you’re experiencing pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, or any other symptoms of a pinched nerve, getting checked by an upper cervical chiropractor can be the first step towards addressing the underlying cause of the problem.  Upper cervical chiropractic care is gentle, effective, and long-lasting.

As the spine comes back into normal alignment, irritation to the affected nerves is also reduced.  Many patients experience vast improvements or even complete resolution of their symptoms.

Research and Case Studies on Upper Cervical Chiropractic and Pinched Nerves

Spinal nerve compression is another way of describing pinched nerves. This can frequently happen as a result of misalignments within the spine beginning with the relationship between the head in the neck. Nerve damage is not uncommon as result of these types of misalignments if left untreated.

Upper neck misalignments not only cause the symptoms associated with pinched nerves but also a variety of other health issues including changes with blood pressure, immune function, migraine headaches, dizziness or vertigo and much more based on the research.

Here are just a few of the case studies and research articles published regarding upper cervical chiropractic and pinched nerves.

  1. Improvement in Blood Pressure Values Following Specific Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care: A Case Study & Review of Literature - This study discusses the effects of upper cervical chiropractic care on blood pressure values and discusses the impact of upper neck misalignments on blood flow, cerebrospinal fluid flow, and nervous system function.
  2. Unusual presentation of multiple nerve entrapment: a case report - This case report discusses a rare condition of bilateral compressive ulnar neuropathy and the use of diagnostic studies to validate the suspected diagnosis. This is an important study to consider when considering the best way to treat a pinched nerve.
  3. Craniocervical chiropractic procedures – a précis of upper cervical chiropractic - This narrative review provides insight into the history, evolution, and current status of upper cervical or craniocervical chiropractic procedures.
  4. Neck pain and disability outcomes following chiropractic upper cervical care: a retrospective case series - This study investigates the use of an upper cervical low-force chiropractic procedure in the management of neck pain and disability.
  5. Symptomatic reactions, clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction associated with upper cervical chiropractic care: A prospective, multicenter, cohort study - This study describes symptomatic reactions and clinical outcomes associated with upper cervical chiropractic care.
  6. Secretory Immunoglobulin A and Upper Cervical Chiropractic: A Preliminary Prospective, Multicenter, Observational Study - This study demonstrated an increase in SIgA levels after upper cervical chiropractic treatment.

These resources provide insights into the effects of upper cervical chiropractic care on various conditions, including blood pressure, nerve entrapment, and neck pain.

Upper Cervical Chiropractic and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

If you are looking for the best way to treat a pinched nerve because you are experiencing numbness, tingling or pain in your arm or hand than you may have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. Research and case studies have explored the relationship between upper cervical chiropractic care and carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) as well.

Here are some key findings:

  1. A review proposed that upper extremity weakness and pain in patients with cervical radiculopathy may cause changes in biomechanics and usage, potentially relating to CTS. The original "double crush" hypothesis remains controversial, but evaluation of multiple sites may still be valuable. The chiropractic profession should develop theoretical models to relate cervical dysfunction to CTS.
  2. A prospective case series involving the conservative management of patients diagnosed with CTS, including concurrent wrist and cervical manipulation, was conducted. The outcomes of this series may provide further insights into the potential benefits of chiropractic care for CTS.
  3. Several case studies and pilot projects have reported positive outcomes with chiropractic care for CTS, including improvements in symptoms and functional status.

It's clear if you're looking for the best way to treat a pinched nerve regardless of the location of your symptoms having a consultation with an upper cervical specialist just makes sense. To find a highly qualified upper cervical specialist in your area click the button below.

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The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.