Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve - Olathe Chiropractic

Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve

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Medical collage of medical tools and a paper that says "pinched nerve".

Don’t let a pinched nerve keep you from working when non-invasive treatment options can restore your prior vitality and functioning! Pinched nerves—or compressed nerves—can strike anytime. Waking up with the feeling of pain or tightness at a nerve point indicates that some kind of compression is at work. Relieve that pressure and help your pinched nerve with these recommendations and treatments!


What Is a Pinched Nerve?

You have countless nerves throughout your body. Some studies estimate that the human body can have as many as 90 billion nerves. And yes, we said “billion”. Your nerves give you the ability to interact with and to understand the world around you. Everything you touch, taste, feel and gain information from happens because of nerves. You have nerves in every part of your body. They are essentially small electrical hubs (neurons) on your muscles, skin, bones, etc.


When you move and use your senses, your nerves all communicate with one another to send information to your brain about what you are doing and feeling. That communication happens in less than a blink of an eye. When you get an injury or have negative health symptoms, you know it because your nerves are affected in certain part of the body. If an injury happens, nerves will fire off rapidly in the area of injury, which is why you feel pain and other symptoms and how you know where you’re hurt.


Your peripheral nerves (the ones that send information to your brain) are located in the limbs, joints, hips and all over the body. When you move, you put pressure on specific parts of your body. However, if you have certain health conditions, injuries or simply move in the wrong way, you can put too much pressure on a nerve. This causes the nerve to compress, or to turn into a “pinched nerve”. The nerve gets too much pressure on it, which can cause a wide range of symptoms.

Man holding his neck that is in pain.

Signs and Symptoms

Some people know it immediately if they have a pinched nerve because they feel pain right away. An example of this is bending over and turning to reach something on the ground and you suddenly feel a sharp pain. You don’t even have to be doing much to pinch a nerve. Some people get a pinched nerve in sports or with rigorous physical activity, but really, you only have to move at just the right angle with too much pressure on a nerve.


Signs of a pinched nerve in your body include:

  • Shooting pain that radiates down a limb
  • Numbness and tingling in the hands, feet or other body parts
  • Weakness in one or more parts of the body
  • Loss of reflex or reaction
  • Atrophy in the muscles if the condition continues for years
  • Loss of coordination and fine movement control in the hands and feet
  • Pain in the area of the nerve or in a completely different area

The tricky thing with nerves is the last symptom. You may have your toes hurt without knowing why. However, there could be a pinched nerve in your lower back or leg that is causing pain in the toes or loss of feeling. That is why getting professional help is so important when you think you have a pinched nerve.


What Now?

If you have a severely pinched nerve, walking, standing and basic movements can cause severe pain. However, you are not the first person to have a pinched nerve and you surely won’t be the last. Often, patients with pinched nerves have to “wait it out” until it gets better. That being said, what you do can determine how long a pinched nerve sticks around. Most people can relieve a pinched nerve fairly quickly with proper resting, ice and heat therapy, non-narcotic pain medications and therapy treatments.


Therapy treatments can significantly accelerate how quickly you get back to normal. Often, chiropractic rehabilitation works wonders for people with a pinched nerve or those who frequently pinch a nerve. When the back and limbs are not properly aligned, you will have uneven pressure throughout your body. That pressure can affect multiple nerves at once and can leave you unable to perform basic tasks. With a proper chiropractic adjustment, you can realign your body once more and relieve nerves that are severely compressed and pressured.


Other therapies that can significantly reduce your pain and symptoms include:

  • Anti-inflammatory joint injections
  • Massage therapy to relieve swelling and to release the pressure irritating the nerve
  • Changes to your routine to eliminate repetitive movements and strain
  • Stress-reduction techniques
  • Pain control through customized massage and stretching
  • Cold/heat therapy as directed by a chiropractor or physical therapist


Close-up view of a person holding their wrist that is in pain and taking a break from typing.

Reduce Your Risk for Pinched Nerves

If you have a pinched nerve, you can be in quite a lot of pain. When you leave your therapy session, make sure you go home and get proper rest. If swelling in a limb is causing nerve compression, make sure to elevate that limb. Get enough sleep at night so your body stays strong and heals properly. If you pinch nerves often, make sure you are getting a chiropractic adjustment often as well. Switch up your posture several times an hour if you find yourself sitting in a chair or standing for long periods, as improper posture alone can pinch a nerve.


Notice the repetitive motions you do during the day (such as typing). Take breaks from those motions several times an hour and do something else to avoid injuries such as carpal tunnel. Use over-the-counter medications to control pain instead of narcotics or opioids, which can cause addiction and worse symptoms.


Obesity or gaining extra weight can put added pressure on your nerve, pinching or compressing them. Eat well so you keep a healthy weight, and you will find yourself with fewer pinched nerves and fewer health problems. However, at the first sign of a pinched nerve, seek professional help. Call Olathe Chiropractic today at (913) 732-0087 to see what we can do to help you!

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