The nervous system is the master system of the human body. Without it, no other part of the body can perform the function that it needs to. Your heart can’t beat, your lungs can’t breathe, and your muscles can’t move. Simply put, we cannot be alive without a nervous system. The way the body works is the brain acts as the “computer”, telling everything in the body what to do and how to do it. The only way it can do that is by sending signals down the spinal cord and through the nerves of the body. These nerves deliver those messages to different parts of the body and relay information back to the brain. Any disruption of these communication lines can affect how these signals are transmitted and thus compromise that part’s ability to function. This is what can happen when there is a pinched nerve.
A pinched nerve refers to compression or irritation on a nerve. Most commonly, pinched nerves occur in the spine in locations such as the neck or the lower back. This can cause symptoms such as pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, or burning into the arms or legs. Sometimes, symptoms can travel all the way into the fingers or toes. At the spine level, a pinched nerve usually stems from a postural or alignment issue in the spine, in which the nerve is being compressed by vertebrae (spinal bones). This can also create inflammation, which is very harmful to nerves and can further exacerbate symptoms. The key to addressing a pinched nerve is identifying the location and utilizing the right treatment methods to correct the problem.
One of the best ways to address a pinched nerve is by seeing a chiropractor. Chiropractors are the experts when it comes to identifying musculoskeletal problems in the spine, of which one of the most commonly seen problems is pinched nerves. If there is a spinal bone that is misaligned or a postural issue causing stress on the nerve, there is no pill or injection that can correct that problem. If it is a physical problem – which a pinched nerve is – then it demands a physical solution. Chiropractic has been the solution to a pinched nerve for many people for many years.
How We Treat Pinched Nerves in Springfield, IL
Comprehensive Consultation and Examination
If you have a pinched nerve and you come to the Springfield Wellness Center to see one of our chiropractors, your first day will consist of a consultation and examination. The purpose of this visit is for the doctor to get to know you and listen to your story. They want to know how this problem began, how bad it has gotten, and what kind of effect it is having on your everyday life. They want to understand you so that they can best meet your needs and come up with the right plan of action.
This plan of action is based on two things: your individual goals (what you want to accomplish through care) and the doctor’s findings from the examination. The doctor will perform various orthopedic, neurologic, and movement tests to help determine the cause of your problem. Certain tests can rule in or rule out a pinched nerve as a problem and these will be utilized to accurately diagnose your condition. After the consultation and examination, you will return to the office and the doctor will discuss your exam findings and review your recommendations for care. We have a lot to offer at the Springfield Wellness Center and your doctor will come up with a specific care plan for your unique case.
Specific Chiropractic Care in Springfield, IL
When you see a chiropractor for an adjustment, they are not simply “cracking your spine”. Yes, it is possible when getting adjusted for gas to release from the joint which creates that sound, but that is not the purpose of the adjustment. The purpose is to realign the spine into its correct position. When the spine is not in its correct position, it can put pressure on nearby nerves. This can cause pinched nerve symptoms such as shooting pain down the arm or leg, numbness or tingling, burning, or weakness along that nerve pathway.
Our chiropractors use specific techniques to target areas that are misaligned. This can instantly create relief for the patient and remove pressure from that area. For many, however, their spine and muscle structure are not used to this alignment. It is used to the way it was before. For this reason, it is important to follow your scheduled care plan to help your spine adapt to these changes so they can become more permanent. You want your spine to recognize good alignment as normal, not poor alignment.
When a nerve is getting compressed due to conditions like arthritis or degenerative disc disease, the compression isn’t usually due to a misalignment. The disc or joint has changed to the point where the nerve is getting compromised, thus causing symptoms of a pinched nerve. When this is the case, we utilize spinal decompression to help provide relief for these patients.
Spinal decompression can be either for the neck or the lower back, depending on where your pinched nerve is located. Decompression gently stretches the spine back and forth, which opens up the joint, disc, and nerve spaces. This can provide immediate relief, as patients feel the weight and pressure being lifted through the stretching mechanism. Spinal decompression works wonders when combined with chiropractic because having the spine in good alignment and decompressed can create optimal mobility as well as symptomatic relief for even chronic sufferers of pinched nerves.
Custom Therapeutic Exercise
In many situations, nerves get pinched due to a postural issue. Our posture is the shape of our spine and how we carry it, and the reality is that the vast majority of people have poor posture. This is primarily due to things like sitting at desks or spending too much time on their phones or tablets. For many, this creates “forward head posture” in which the neck curves in the opposite direction of what it is supposed to. This can cause things like tension headaches, neck pain, and yes, pinched nerves.
At the Springfield Wellness Center, addressing postural issues is a core element of the care we provide. Postural analysis is done on every patient, and if there are postural issues, the corrective exercise is included in their care plan. During your care, you work with our trainer who is an expert at guiding you through the stretches and exercises that will reshape your posture. Over time, these changes have a profound effect on the spine and play a big role in correcting a pinched nerve.
Deep Tissue Laser
When nerves are pinched, it is common for it to cause inflammation at the site of injury. Inflammation is irritating to nerves and this can further exacerbate the person’s symptoms. It is a vicious cycle that can be hard to break. The best way that we address inflammation at the Springfield Wellness Center is using a special technology called Deep Tissue Laser. This therapy is a fast, painless, and efficient treatment method for reducing inflammation as well as speeding up the tissue healing process.
Deep Tissue Laser works through a process called “photobiomodulation”. What happens is the light energy from the laser penetrates deep into the tissue all the way down to the cellular level. The energy stimulates the cell into energy production which goes towards healing damaged tissue, as well as decreasing inflammation around the source. It can sometimes take a few hours to fully work, but when it does, it is very effective at relieving symptoms of a pinched nerve.
What Causes Pinched Nerves in Springfield, IL
One of the most common causes of a pinched nerve is the misalignment of a vertebra in the spine. Subluxation can happen in many different ways: from large traumas like car accidents or sports injuries to small repetitive motions like sitting at a desk all day. When subluxation happens, it doesn’t always cause symptoms right away, which is why many times problems go unmanaged for months or even years.
When it is symptomatic and pressing on a nerve, though, it can be very painful and uncomfortable. Until it is properly addressed it will not go away. No amount of pills or injections can alleviate this issue – they can only temporarily mask the symptoms. Having your spine checked and adjusted by a chiropractor is the most conservative – and most effective – way to treat and correct a pinched nerve. Chiropractic and decompression are especially effective at providing tremendous relief quickly for people suffering from this condition.
Another problem that can create pressure on nerves and immense discomfort down the arms or legs is a bulged or herniated disc. Vertebral discs consist of a jelly-like center (nucleus) which is surrounded by several rings of fibrocartilage. Over time with normal wear and tear, these rings of cartilage can become damaged and the nucleus material will fill the spaces. After enough or all of the rings are damaged, the disc itself can bulge or herniate. This creates immense discomfort down the arm or leg due to the compression and inflammation-causing massive irritation on the nerve.
At the Springfield Wellness Center, we treat disc injuries in many ways. Chiropractic care and decompression are two staples of this care, which help alleviate pressure, reduce pain, and help the disc material return to its correct place. We also utilize exercise to provide stability to the lower back or neck to prevent this issue from happening again in the future. Everyone’s situation is different and your doctor will put together the right treatment plan for you to address this debilitating condition.
Arthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease (DJD), is a condition in which the joints of the spine reduce in size due to wear and tear. When they reduce in size, it is often due to hypertrophy of the bone around the joint, which takes up more of the joint space. This also tends to take up more of the space where the nerve travels through, which has the potential to cause a pinched nerve. This is a process that happens gradually over time, but when it is symptomatic, it can be very painful and frustrating due to its chronic nature.
Decompression is one of the best ways to treat this kind of pinched nerve. It opens up the disc and joint spaces, which in turn allows more room for the nerve. This can bring relief very quickly as pressure is reduced on the nerve. It is common for people in this situation to have decompression done frequently in order to constantly expose the joints and disc to this stretching action. Over time, this is what can create more lasting relief for these patients.
Nerve Entrapment by Muscle
Another type of pinched nerve that doesn’t get discussed as much is nerve entrapment, which means the nerve isn’t being compressed at the spinal level but further down its nerve pathway. Most commonly, it is being compressed by a muscle or other type of soft tissue that impinges on the nerve and causes dysfunction. This can happen anywhere in the body, but most commonly it is in the shoulders, hips, legs, or arms. Typically, symptoms will be from the entrapment site downwards and won’t be experienced in the spine or adjacent areas.
At the Springfield Wellness Center, we address these types of pinched nerves through different soft tissue techniques. One of these is Active Release Technique, in which the muscle is taken through active stretching to alleviate the pressure on that nerve. Another method used is the Graston Technique, in which a metal tool is used to reduce muscle tension and alleviate pressure at the entrapment site. Deep tissue laser can also be used to help reduce pain and inflammation and facilitate healing of the entrapment site.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a chiropractor in Springfield, IL good for a pinched nerve?
Yes, if you have a pinched nerve, a chiropractor is the best place to go to correct the problem. In Springfield, IL The Chiropractors at the Springfield Wellness Center have a wide variety of treatment techniques to have you feeling back at your best and get you back to doing the things you love to do. They will guide you through the treatment process and make sure that your needs are met.
Should I see a doctor or a chiropractor for a pinched nerve?
The best place to start would be with a chiropractor. Not only are they well-equipped to correct the cause of the problem but the treatment provided is also very conservative and safe. Seeing a medical doctor is not a bad thing to do. Usually, they will prescribe pain medication or muscle relaxers to appease symptoms, but ultimately these don’t correct the problem. In rare cases, surgery may be required, but all conservative methods of treatment should be exhausted first.
What happens if you let a pinched nerve go untreated?
Unfortunately, if a pinched nerve goes untreated, the problem doesn’t magically go away. Over time, the problem can get worse and worse to the point where the pain is unbearable. Also, the longer you have this problem, the more chronic it gets. This means it is more difficult to treat and it may take longer to get the problem corrected than if it was addressed earlier on.
How often should you see a chiropractor for a pinched nerve?
This is to be determined by the doctor, as every person is different and heals differently. Some cases require multiple visits a week. This is not a permanent thing, it is just what is necessary to properly treat the issue and prevent their condition from getting worse. If you are consistent with your care, you can expect to get great results and less frequent visits over time.
What does it feel like to have a pinched nerve?
Pinched nerves can present differently for different people. The most common symptoms are pain down the arm or leg, numbness, tingling, burning, and weakness. Some people experience one of these symptoms and some experience all of them. It really depends on how the nerve is being compressed and what kind of symptoms that compression is causing for that individual. Luckily, techniques used by chiropractors address all of these the same.