Pinched Nerve

Published: 09th November 2009
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What does a pinched nerve feel like?

If you have a pinched nerve you may have pain shooting down the legs or arms. This is the most common presentation of a pinched nerve but can also cause other sensations such as sharp shooting pain, pins and needles, numbness and a burning feeling to the arms and/or legs.

A pinched nerve can cause pain and other sensations anywhere in the body. It's all a matter of which nerve and what part of the nerve is pinched. Common conditions caused by pinched nerves are protruding disc 'slipped disc', sciatica, tennis elbow and carpal tunnel. A common site of a pinched nerve is the discs of the lower spine. A protruding disc, 'slipped disc', puts pressure on the nerves exiting the spine. It can cause pain, pins and needles down the legs because these nerves extend down to the toes, commonly referred to as sciatica.

A pinched nerve is quite a literal translation when a nerve has direct pressure on it from other parts of the body. These nerves are a highway for information travelling to and from the brain. When a nerve gets pinched, it affects the transmission of these signals, causing sensation changes. A simple analogy is a foot stepping on a garden hose. The water does not flow, because of physical pressure, much like a pinched nerve.

The symptomatic areas do not necessarily mean it is pinched in that area. The pressure can arise from anywhere along that nerve. I.e., pressure on the neck can cause pain, tingling, numbness on the hand.

Tight muscles, trauma, inflamed joints, misaligned joints, osteoarthritis, spinal discs can all cause pressure onto a nerve. Once you remove the blockage, much of the symptoms will be resolved, but further treatment and rehabilitation will be needed to prevent re-occurrence.

When a nerve becomes pinched, and left untreated, the long term damage can be significant. Constant pressure will cause muscle wasting, imbalances during walking, and even permanent changes. Nerves are a very slow healing structure. Thus the need to treat nerves as soon as symptoms appear is essential for a quicker healing time.

A low level pinched nerve can be painless and go undetected for a long time. Every organ and cell in your body is in communication with your brain via your nerves. This is how the body manages itself. When you have a spine that is not in the correct alignment your nerves on either side will be affected. This leads to abnormal organ function and if left long enough can cause disease or organ failure.

Everybody has an inbuilt healing potential (innate intelligence) and this healing potential is guided and controlled by your nervous system. Your body has the power and intelligence to heal itself. If you cut your finger, providing you keep it clean, it will repair itself. If you strain a muscle or ligament it will heal itself with time. It is the same with sickness and disease. Restoring the structure and alignment to your spine, results in the restoration of function to the nerves and the organs which they supply. This is the underlying philosophy of chiropractic. The power that made your body heals your body (innate intelligence) and by maintaining a healthy spine, the body stays healthy and heals itself.

Doug Eldred is a Chiropractor in West Ryde, Sydney, NSW. He has a particular interest in helping people get their bodies back into balance, and consequently living a pain free and completely mobile, long, healthy life.

Doug has a particular interest in helping people with headaches and neck pain, shoulder blade pain, low back pain, and fott, ankle, knee and spinal problems caused by foot dysfunction.

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