Health, HEALTH/FOOD

Pinched Nerve

“This pinch can be a real pain”

Pinched Nerve
Photo Credit: www.spines.com.

What is Pinched Nerve?

We are able to perform motor (movement) and sensory functions because of a network of nerves which are integral to the nervous system. Pinched nerve, also called compressed nerve, is the pressure put on a nerve root by surrounding tissue that is bony, cartilage muscles and tendons. A pinched nerve most frequently occurs in the lower spine and wrist and neck. Other parts of the body can also have pinched nerves.

Causes and Symptoms

The causes of the compressed nerve root vary from a herniated disc as in the case of a herniated disc due to arthritic changes. A herniated disc can result after an injury including a sport injury. Arthritis is usually age-related changes which occur mainly in the joints and the resulting bone spurs can entrap a nerve. There are also occupational injuries which result from repetitive stress placed on extremities. The compression results in swelling of the nerve and this disrupt the normal functioning of the nerve.

It is important to tell your health-care provider if you have other illnesses such diabetes or thyroid disease.

Most frequently reported symptoms are:

  • Pins and needle sensations in the affected area radiating out to adjoining areas
  • Numbness
  • Pain of varying intensity
  • Weakness in the muscles

There are diagnostic tests to confirm a pinched nerve and they include nerve conduction study, electromyography, and magnetic resonance imaging MRI.

As the saying goes, “prevention is better than cure” and so we encourage you to visit your healthcare provider to nip in the bud, any early symptom and sign of a pinched nerve.

Be aware that pain relief and improvement in the inflammation of an injured limb often times does not address the root of the problem which made you susceptible to the injury in the first place. Temporary relief and recurrent pain and swelling are the body’s signal that the problem still exists.

If you have been applying a cold compress to the painful area with no relief, then this is an indication that it may not be a sport injury. Ice and rest are very effective for an acute injury. Do not neglect to consult a doctor when the pain and discomfort are unresolved. Also, if there is relief and then the pain re-occurs once regular activity or training are resumed, then the cause of the pain needs to be fully investigated. In order to rule out the possibility of other similar orthopedic problems x-rays, scans, and imaging (MRI) are good diagnostic tools.

Conservative Therapy

These are the treatment, manipulations, and physical exercises used by physical therapist, chiropractors, and others to relieve mild to moderate compression of the affected nerve.

The chiropractor relieves the pain in the legs by applying specific manipulation of the pelvis. Physical therapist have a menu of musculo-skeletal passive and active exercises that are done with increasing intensity to strengthen weak limbs. Overweight individuals should try to lose the extra pounds as this brings relief from the leg pain and discomfort. Other useful therapies are:

  • Postural retraining
  • Acupuncture and acupressure
  • Yoga
  • Aromatherapy
  • Color Therapy
  • Weight management program
  • Herbal Therapy

For severe nerve compression, there are surgical solutions to release the entrapped nerve that should be discussed with your doctor.

Readers Bureau, Contributor

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