The term “pinched nerve” is somewhat of a catch-all phrase, commonly used to describe pain associated with a variety of conditions, from joint fixation, to tunnel syndromes, to the referred pain from trigger points.
Most of the time, what we call a pinched nerve is actually an irritated or inflamed nerve – the nerve itself is not actually “pinched.” In most cases, nerves become irritated and inflamed when the bones, joints or muscles of the spine are not in their proper position, or are not moving properly. This condition is called a “subluxation,” and doctors of chiropractic specialize in treating it.
There are instances when nerves do become “pinched,” such as in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, sciatica and Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. In each of these cases, injury, spasm or inflammation of the surrounding muscles and connective tissue causes the nerve to become compressed, resulting in pain. These conditions are referred to as “nerve impingements.” Treating nerve impingements is more complex than treating a simple spinal subluxation, but they usually respond very well to chiropractic care, especially when combined with other physiotherapies, such as Active Release Techniques, exercises and stretches.
It is very important to properly diagnose the cause of any kind of pain. This is especially important when nerves are affected because severe or long-term irritation, or compression of a nerve can lead to permanent nerve damage. If you have been told that you have a “pinched nerve,” it is very important for you to seek professional care from a doctor of chiropractic as soon as possible.
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