by Dr. John Kuruc
On average, 85 people out of 100,000 adults in the United States will suffer from pinched nerves. Within that statistic, any age group can experience pinched nerves, yet studies show that people over 50 years of age are more susceptible to enduring the ramifications of a pinched nerve. Why? Because those individuals also suffer from arthritis or bone degeneration that can trigger pinched nerves. It is crucial to mention however, that if pinched nerves are not treated adequately, your quality of life may rapidly decline.
Pinched nerves are caused by an increase in pressure on the nerve root. This can occur from a disc herniation, degenerative joint disease, obesity, and poor posture among others. When pinched nerves occur, common symptoms may include; numbness, tingling, discomfort, pain when coughing/sneezing, weakness, and sharp pain.
The issue of dealing with a pinched nerve however, is its tendency of surprise. Meaning, that the symptoms that coincide with a pinched nerve may occur when you least expect it. Many studies also show that when patients feel numbness and tingling in their extremities, the sensation at times becomes sharp and electrical. Generally, these episodes come and go but if not treated, they will become persistent over time. When a person feels weakness in their leg, arm, foot, or hand due to a pinched nerve, this is because the affected nerve has been irritated because of the repetitive compression. This can be very uncomfortable, and if the proper care is not pursued, muscle function, size, and vitality may be lost in the specific area. This of course, occurs in the most severe cases, but must be avoided while possible. In more specific cases associated with pinched nerves, the increased compression may result in wearing down the nerve’s protective outer layer. If that occurs, the buildup of fluid in the area will cause dangerous inflammation and potential scarring of tissue.
So how can chiropractic care help? You see, chiropractic care will dive into finding the root cause of the pinched nerve. While pain medications and a steroid are often prescribed by medical doctors, it’s important to help the patient understand why the pinched nerve occurred in the first place and help correct it. Most patients in my experience that have hand a pinched nerve respond well to several techniques that I use in my office daily. Manual therapies such as myofascial release, deep tissue massage, cupping, and instrument assisted soft tissue therapy. Spinal manipulation or extremity manipulation were necessary to increase range of motion to the joints. Flexion distraction techniques are used to separate the spinal joints to reduce pressure on the nerve roots. Finally, postural rehabilitative exercises to help restore proper body mechanics.
With all of these therapies combined, patients tend to see results in as little as six to nine treatments. Pinched nerves unfortunately do no resolve overnight which is why treating a pinched nerve with several treatments over a short period of time leads to better outcomes because no one likes to live in pain. So, if you’re experiencing a pinched nerve, don’t wait for the pain to go away! Get evaluated as quickly as possible!
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