Our nervous system is a complex system of nerve roots, peripheral nerves and electrical pathways and provides communication between the brain and the rest of the body. The role of the nervous system is to provide sensation to all areas of the body, signals that originate in the brain and travel to the appropriate location. Muscles and organs are innervated as well as our skin, giving us sensations or feelings at the surface of the skin. Innervations to the skin allow us to feel sensations of hot and cold as well as pain or different textures. Because the nervous system deals with pathways to transmit electrical signals, when a nerve is pinched the compression that is present can cause neurological problems felt wherever that specific nerve pathway is responsible to innervate. A pinched nerve can occur anywhere in the body and depending on the location, symptoms may vary. The cause of a pinched nerve can vary as well. It can be the result of a herniated disc in the spine which is the location of nerve roots and their point of exit into the body and it can be caused by spinal arthritis that can produce bone spurs which can compress the nerve roots. In other areas of the body, a pinched nerve can occur in the wrist at the location of the carpal tunnel, which houses the median nerve and can become compressed when the tunnel itself becomes inflamed.
Control and Improve the Symptoms
When a pinched nerve is present in the spine, symptoms will be present at the spinal level where the nerve compression has occurred. If the nerve has been compressed in the lumbar spine, symptoms may include numbness and weakness, pain and burning, electrical sensations or feelings of hot and cold into the buttocks and lower extremities. Some people may feel weakness and numbness with no pain involved while others may have the numbness and weakness and also experience pain. In some cases, a pinched nerve will heal on its own with simple at home care such as rest and anti-inflammatory medications if the pinched nerve is caused by minor injury or irritation. In other cases, medical intervention may be required to control and improve the symptoms and cause of the pinched nerve. Chiropractic care and physical therapy are excellent conservative care options to help alleviate pain and discomfort associated with a pinched nerve. It is important to communicate well with a chiropractic physician, relating all past injuries or work and posture habits, as well as any other current health problems such as osteoporosis or osteoarthritis. Diagnostic imaging may be needed at some point to locate the exact location of the pinched nerve and the amount of compression that is present between the vertebrae. If care does not produce any beneficial results, a referral may be made for another specialty to become involved in treatment.
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