What is a Pinched Nerve and How Do I Treat it?

167-what-is-a-pinched-nerve-and-how-do-i-treat-itA “pinched” nerve is one of the most common types of back and neck problems. It’s characterized by the compression by bony structures (i.e., vertebrae, discs) on one or more nerves running from the brain down through the spinal cord. Nerve “entrapment” by contrast, occurs when a given nerve is squeezed by surrounding soft tissues (i.e., muscles, tendons or ligaments) which can occur more frequently. These nerves play an important role in our body’s function, so when one becomes compressed, it can affect our normal movements. Symptoms from either pinched or entrapped nerves can include pain, limited mobility, tingling “pins-and-needles” feeling, and in some cases numbness.

Causes of a Pinched Nerve

Before we discuss the treatment options for a pinched nerve, let’s first talk about what causes this condition to occur. There are dozens of possible injuries and conditions that may cause or at least contribute to a pinched nerve. Anytime a nerve becomes compressed, it’s considered to be pinched. With that said, some common causes of pinched nerve include repetitive motion, sleeping in the wrong position, herniated/bulging disc, physical trauma, and birth deformity.

There are certain risk factors associated with a pinched nerve as well. Women have a higher risk of developing this condition than their male counterparts. People who go throughout their daily lives with poor posture also have a greater risk.

Treating a Pinched Nerve

In order to effectively treat a pinched nerve instead of just masking the symptoms, pressure on the affected nerve or nerves must be released. Certain types of drugs can mask the pain, discomfort and inflammation associated with a pinched nerve, but it’s not going to offer any long-term, lasting relief. This is why it’s important that people who experience this condition treat the root cause of the problem by relieving pressure on the affected nerve. 

Massage therapy can prove effective in treating a pinched nerve. A professional massage therapist can gently manipulate the around surrounding the nerve, releasing tension in the muscles and soft tissue. As the tension is released, it may free up the affected nerve; thus, allowing it to function freely once again. If you are seeking massage therapy for the purpose of treating a pinched nerve it’s important that you let your therapist know so that he or she can use the appropriate techniques.


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