Pinched Nerve

Pinched nerves are one of the more common terms you will hear with back, yet this is a term that is totally false. In fact you can only ever "pinch a nerve" if you have a herniated disc. Why?

The nerves are well protected as they travel their course. As they exit the spine they are surrounded by fatty tissue for added protection, and the canal they exit is large compared to the size of the nerve.

How can you develop a pinched nerve?

The nerves exit the spine through a canal made from the gap between two vertebrae. If this gap becomes smaller then it is possible to pinch a nerve. This may occur in severe cases of degeneration or when a disc herniates and closes this gap.

This is in fact called a herniated disc, and is the only real possible time you could develop a pinched nerve.

Why do they use the term "pinched nerve" so often?

When you have any sharp back pain, you are commonly told you have a nerve pinching. It is a term used commonly in the structural professions to make a complex situation a simple one ... using the symptoms you feel as an explanation.

There are many similar terms that also don't actually exist - slipped discs, your spine going out, putting your back out and other such terms.

As the structural professions use Latin as their language for diagnosis, converting it in to an understandable language is hard, hence these terms develop.

What actually is a pinched nerve?

The term used explains a complex mechanism of pain. The sharp pain you feel, feels like someone has pinched your nerve as if you would pinch the skin. In these situations you have in fact muscular spasm along with some joint interruption.

Most commonly the small muscles around the joint go into spasm. As they are small muscles they tend to cause sharper and more severe pain. The pain can literally stop you from doing certain movements as the pain becomes sharp and debilitating.

The reason why these small muscles go into spasm is that you have developed spinal imbalances and the small muscles suddenly become overworked and hence go into spasm.

What are the symptoms of a pinched nerve?

The pain tends to be very sharp and localized. At times pain may radiate away from the spine if in fact the nerve is irritated.

In a true situation of nerve pinching (disc herniations or severe degeneration of the spine) radiations are common. You may also lose bowel and bladder control, power in your muscles and it can be debilitating. If this occurs you need urgent medical attention.

What are the common treatments for a nerve pinching?

When you are told that you have pinched a nerve, the common treatments are targeted towards easing pain. Medications, cortisone injections, ice/heat, ultrasound and exercises may be used.

If it is in fact a disc herniation, then conservative treatments can be performed or in some cases surgery may be necessary.

Why do the traditional treatments fail?

Most treatments are targeted towards pain or symptoms; hence have poor long term results. Unless you remove the muscular spasm of the small muscles then you will only have a temporary fix.

No medication, supplement, injection and most exercises, fail to address the cause, which are the spinal imbalances.

What is the best approach for long term relief?

If you have a herniated disc then you must reduce the compression forces on the disc. If it is a muscular spasm (which is the most common cause) then you must follow a simple 4 step process.

First you need to identify which spinal imbalances you have, once you detect these you then need to use symptom based techniques to ease and reduce your pain. Once pain has eased, then corrective techniques are performed to remove the muscle and joint imbalances.

The principle of Spinal Balancing addresses both the pain of a pinched nerve and the root of the problem - in other words, what's causing the pressure in the first place.

If you'd like to read more about a simple back pain program that can help, simply click the link below...


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