21 May 2014
What is a ‘trapped nerve’?
What is a ‘trapped nerve’?
Most people who come to see us at The Chiropractic Centre in Bristol have a form of ‘trapped nerve’ causing their pain. A lot of Chiropractors will also call this ‘trapped nerve’ a ‘subluxation’. The question is, what is a trapped nerve?
To start with, your nerves go everywhere throughout your body. They nerves control everything; every movement, sensation, thought and emotion. They do this by linking your brain to your body. Your brain is like a big computer that sends messages down through the spinal cord and out through the nerves between each vertebrae to the whole body. In fact, you have so many of them that if you removed every cell apart from your nerves you would still be recognisable!
You can trap a nerve just about anywhere in your body; a trapped nerve in the back is perhaps one of the most common types.
So you can see, the nerves of your body are very important indeed!
How do these nerves get trapped?
Well, there are many different ways to trap a nerve, however I’m going to explain the one that we see most commonly. The spinal column and nerves are housed within the spine.
Trapped nerves are mostly caused by a build up of poor posture and stress
A trapped nerve is caused by two things: big traumas, like a car crash or falling down the stairs, or, most commonly, small repetitive traumas, like poor posture and stress. So essentially it is because of our modern lifestyles that we don’t look after our spines very well. So when these traumas happen to the spine the vertebrae (the spine bones) that are designed to move freely can stiffen up. When a joint in the spine does not work properly then it can irritate the nerve next to it. Although this process is much more complicated and involves fancy long names, for simplicity sake, we call it a ‘trapped nerve’.
What symptoms can a ‘trapped nerve’ cause?
Firstly, you are most likely to feel pain where the nerve is trapped. So if you trap a nerve in the low back you will feel low back pain. If you trap a nerve in your neck, you will feel neck pain.
However the more ‘pressure’ that is put on the nerve the further away from where it is trapped you can feel it. This is called referred pain. So for example, some of the nerves from your low back go down your legs as the sciatic nerve. This can cause pain down your leg all the way to your foot and is often known as sciatica. Likewise, the nerves from the top of your neck go up into your head causing headaches; and the nerves from your lower neck go into your arms to your fingers.
I’ve mentioned pain as this is the most common presentation, however a trapped nerve can cause tingling, pins and needles, numbness and weakness of the muscles; in some cases it can cause no symptoms at all.
What can be done to get rid of a trapped nerve?
There are many things you can do to help a trapped nerve, for example, using an ice pack, stretching, massage, changing your work set up or stressful situation and of course Chiropractic. As a Chiropractor I’m biased and say that the Chiropractic Adjustment is the best thing for a trapped nerve, combined with the other suggestions as well.
Chiropractic care is very effective for people with trapped nerves
At the Chiropractic Centre in Bristol we use specific Chiropractic adjustments to get the movement back into the restricted spinal joint and take the pressure off the nerve. The body can then do what it has been wanting to do all along, and that is to heal the nerve. Voilà, with the pressure off the nerve and the nerve healing, the pain reduces! Simple isn’t it!
So the next point is, if you think you have a trapped nerve or know someone who has, then why not get a Chiropractic check up to see if Chiropractic can help you. If you’re near Bristol then give us a call on 01179741501 or click here to book an appointment. You can also find out more about our chiropractic services here.