Your Nervous System
Nerves extend from your brain and spinal cord on a path to some location in the body. They are meant to relay messages from the brain to the body, and from the body to the brain. If there is nerve impingement, your body often will tell you about the impingement with pain. Consider pain as a warning signal to do something before the problem gets worse.
Nerve Impingement (Pinched Nerve)
Nerve impingement is just another fancy way of saying pressure on nerves. When this occurs, your body will tell you about it with symptoms, most commonly pain. But other things can occur too. Numbness, tingling, weakness, lack of sensation or weird sensations may be present. Nerve impingement can occur anywhere along the path of where a nerve travels. It most commonly happens at joints. The spine, shoulders, elbows, or wrists, for example.
Carpal Tunnel syndrome is an example of nerve impingement. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a relatively common condition that occurs when the “median nerve” is compressed leading to pain, numbness and tingling in the arm and hand. The condition is named as such because it was thought the compression occurs at the Carpal Tunnel of the wrist. Upon further investigation and research, it was found that Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be caused by compression of the median nerve anywhere the median nerve travels. The median nerve originates from 5 different spinal nerve roots (5 nerves exiting the neck), travels through the anterior aspect of the shoulder and elbow, down the forearm, through the Carpal Tunnel and then controls the small muscles of your hand. Impingement can happen anywhere along that pathway.
Common Causes of Impingement
Impingement occurs when the space a nerve is meant to travel in or through becomes compressed or reduced in size. The most common causes of impingement that we see in our office are inflammation, arthritis and problems with the “discs” that lie between the bones of the spine.
How Does A Chiropractor Help?
As a chiropractor, we specialize in treating problems associated with your spinal column. Being that nerve impingement is often at the spinal level, we treat it at the source. Our job is to position vertebrae in the most optimal position possible thus leading to appropriate spacing for nerves to travel within. In addition to positioning vertebrae correctly, we also strive to reduce or improve any restrictions that may occur in the spinal column. When the bones of the spine are restricted, you don’t move as well as you could. Good quality movement is necessary to prevent stiffness and inflammation from setting in. Movement helps reduce inflammation. That’s why people often “hurt” less when they’re moving, but their problems get worse after sitting for a long time.