Yikes! Even the name of this condition sounds uncomfortable. "Pinched nerve." To take a nerve, one of the most delicate and most important tissues in the human body, and then squeeze it without mercy...
The pain from a "pinched nerve" is usually described as a sharp burning sensation, which may travel from the spine down the arm (sometimes called radiculopathy) or down the leg (sciatica). When this stabbing burning pain is felt, we sometimes say that we have suffered a "pinched nerve".
Fortunately for all of us, many times a "pinched nerve" is not really a nerve that is pinched. Only larger bundles of nerves, such as the sciatic nerve, or relatively exposed nerves in the arms and legs, such as the fibular nerve, tend to be susceptible to mechanical compression.
It was once thought that when the bones of the spine misalign, they literally choke off the nerves that travel between them. This choking mechanism would prevent the nerves from properly sending their signals to other nerves and organs, as well as preventing the nerves from repairing themselves. It was also thought that this type of squeezing could occur when nerves become trapped between ligaments, tendons, muscles, scar tissue and other tissues. But we now know this is not usually the case. Most spinal nerves are very difficult to squeeze in this manner without major trauma (such as an athletic injury, often called a stinger).
From this discussion, it's easy to see that the location of the pain can often help indicate what the problem really is: a pinched nerve, or something else?
Other conditions near the spine can cause the same type of sudden burning pain, including facet syndrome (when the joints of the spine become inflamed as the result of improper motion), inflammation near the spine, rib dislocation or subluxation, a sprain, or some types of spinal subluxations. Irritations such as these can be caused by repetitive motions, improper work habits, or an unusual sleep posture ("I woke up with a crick in my neck").
How We Can Help Your Pinched Nerve
Proper diagnosis is key to rapid recovery from a pinched nerve. The first task for your chiropractor is to determine if your nerve is actually compressed, which may require invasive treatments in some advanced patients. If the nerves are working properly, then the cause of your pain still needs to be located: joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones... all will be evaluated by your doctor.
In most uncomplicated cases of sharp pain, your pain should disappear after only a couple chiropractic adjustments. The burning pain of a pinched nerve is an indication that something is not working properly in the body, and tends to find quick relief after being treated. However, it is possible that you may need a short ongoing course of treatment after the pain goes away in order to fix the cause of the problem and ensure it does not happen again.
Your chiropractic adjustments at Johnson Family Chiropractic of Peoria are sure to be painless and quick. Sometimes, the pain of a pinched nerve condition can make it difficult to perform some motions such as bending your head or turning your back. Fortunately, the Activator Methods analysis and adjustment protocol that is used at Johnson Family Chiropractic of Peoria will not require you to bend, twist, or contort your body into any painful positions.
If you are feeling uncomfortable and think you have a pinched nerve, contact Dr. Kyle Johnson, a chiropractor in Peoria, to reserve a time for a proper examination and diagnosis.