This is when a nerve is pinched and this can be by any structure. It could be a soft tissue structure, a muscle, a ligament, knot or adhesion, or a build up around a nerve. With pinched nerves, you could get one in your lower back or your neck, which is coming from your spine, or you can get a pinched nerve from a herniated disc. All of these are going to present with different signs and symptoms, but generally a pinched nerve is going to create a different sensation. This could be a numbness, a tingling, a cold or hot feeling, a shooting pain, an electrical pain, tingling in your feet or tingling in your hands. You can also have pinched nerves that can cause a decrease in sensation when you touch your skin, so you won’t be able to feel things or pick things up as well. You can also have a pinched nerve that will cause a decrease in reflexes, so these are the things that I look for during the exam while I’m looking to see where the pinched nerve is coming from.
Chiropractically speaking, if you have a pinched nerve, it’s coming from your spine and your spine is out of alignment and it is pinching on a nerve. An analogy is like you putting your foot on a hose, it decreases the amount of water coming out of the other end. When you get a pinched nerve, it’s altering sensation and altering the nervous function to what it’s innervating whether it’s the skin or muscles. Or you can have muscle weakness as well with a pinched nerve. If that gets worse, you can lose the ability to use that muscle and you lose strength in that muscle.
If you have a pinched nerve and it’s not going away, it’s a good indication that it’s not going to go away on it’s own. The longer that a pinched nerve goes untreated, the worse it will get. You may start to develop different types of sensations – numbness, tingling, losing feeling in your hand, your foot. You can also start losing the ability to use muscles and they will start to atrophy.
Chiropractors are trained how to assess a person’s spinal alignment which may be causing the pinched nerve. On top of that there are orthopedic tests that can be done to determine if the nerve is being pinched on something other than the spine. We can locate the area and the structure that is pinching on the nerve and in most cases release the soft tissue or bony structure that is causing the altered sensation.