Your body is like a computer network, the nervous system is your body’s electrical wiring. Nerves send messages from the brain to other organs, allowing them to function properly and respond to certain stimuli. If something happens to any of these nerves, then the body can feel off. In this case, when a person suffers from a pinched nerve, the rest of their body is affected.
At Innate Life Chiropractic in Omaha, Dr. Nathan will determine the exact location and the cause(s) of the pinched nerve. He will recommend the most appropriate care to help your body heal, as well as preventing future reoccurrences. Removing pressure from pinched nerve pain is the primary goal.
What Causes a Pinched Nerve?
Pinched nerves are actually quite common. When there is a pinched nerve, it is likely due to poor posture, lifting heavy objects or reaching for something awkwardly. Although they are common, pinched nerves can appear suddenly, sometimes without warning.
Another cause for a pinched nerve is suffering from an acute injury. Acute injuries cause inflammation and swelling that can compress a nerve in the affected area. These injuries can even displace parts of the spinal column, compressing several nerves and/or the nerve roots. Even the spinal cord itself can be affected by an acute injury. Experiencing an acute injury includes being in an auto-accident, due to the amount of stress placed on your body.
There are several reasons, aside from poor posture, lifting heavy items, and acute injuries, that can cause a pinched nerve. Such reasons include:
- Bulging and/or herniated discs. When the disc protrudes into the spinal cord, it can place pressure on the spine and other surrounding nerves.
- Bone spurs. These are small and sharp bone outgrowths that result in extra bone deposits to appear in the area.
- Changes in the spine. Spinal stenosis is one example of when changes to the spine can place extra pressure on a nerve.
- Inflammation of soft tissue. This is dependent on if there are any repetitive motion injuries and/or long-term postural problems the patient experiences.
- Lack of movement, or repetitive motion. Staying in the same position for prolonged periods of time can place pressure on a nerve. The same applies for activities that will continue affecting the affected area, such as lifting objects or typing on a computer/ laptop.
- Weight gain. Whether from pregnancy or obesity, this can aggravate spinal alignment or disc complications, causing or worsening any nerve compression.
Many times pinched nerves have been developing for a long time, however they have been asymptomatic until the body can no longer adapt to all of the demands places on it. Regardless of if the pinched nerve is acute or has been developing for a long time, any pressure limits the brain’s ability to coordinate the functions of the body. This limits our ability to heal, grow, and thrive.
Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve
Symptoms of a pinched nerve can vary, depending on the location of that nerve. The most common, and often recognized, signs of a pinched nerve include pain, numbness, reduced muscle strength or control, and even tingling sensations (otherwise known as feeling “pins and needles”).
Because the nervous system is a vast and complex network, it can take one injury to disrupt the rest of the body. The spinal cord is the largest nerve in the body, connected to other large nerves that branch off and spread out into many smaller networks. When the nerves are functioning properly, so is the body. So, when we place the body under stress, a network of nerves can be affected. If left untreated, this new dysfunction may influence other surrounding or connected nerves. In other words, if your hand feels it is on “pins and needles”, you could have a pinched nerve in your neck.
A pinched cervical nerve (neck) can produce pain and stress in an upper extremity, such as the arms, fingers, and shoulders. If you are experiencing stomach problems or ulcers, there may be a pinched thoracic nerve (middle back). Loss of b
ladder control, loss of bowel control, or symptoms similar to sciatica can result from a pinched lumbar or sacral nerve (low back and buttocks). If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call Innate Life Chiropractic today to seek care.