What is a pinched or trapped nerve?

A trapped or pinched nerve, is what we call the uncomfortable sensation, pain, or numbness caused when increased pressure leads to irritation or damage to a peripheral nerve.

A peripheral nerve is one that is outside the brain and spinal cord.

Although this condition is often associated with back pain or a neck injury, almost any nerve is susceptible.

Back related pain is often blamed (sometimes correctly) on the sciatic nerve.

So what causes a trapped nerve?

Anything which increases pressure around a nerve can cause discomfort.

Common causes include body position such as leaning on elbows, habitually crossing legs, poor posture or annoyingly, sleeping in a unusual posture.

Over time this may lead to pressure injury to nerves in these regions.

Disc herniation or bulging discs and arthritis in the spine can cause pressure on nerve roots which leads to the pain or discomfort associated with a pinched nerve.

 

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So what causes a trapped nerve?

Anything which increases pressure around a nerve can cause discomfort.

Common causes include body position such as leaning on elbows, habitually crossing legs, poor posture or annoyingly, sleeping in a unusual posture.

Over time this may lead to pressure injury to nerves in these regions.

Disc herniation or bulging discs and arthritis in the spine can cause pressure on nerve roots which leads to the pain or discomfort associated with a pinched nerve.

Weight gain

Being overweight and water retention can make people more susceptible to developing pinched or trapped nerves.

Pregnancy

Which again can be associated with increased weight and occasionally associated with water retention, is also a common risk factor for developing certain types of pinched nerves.

Sports and Repetitive activities

Typing and using certain tools, racquet sports, throwing sports and many others including martial arts can also increase swelling around specific nerves and lead to symptoms of a pinched nerve.

 

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What is it?

Pressure on a peripheral nerve can irritate the nerve itself, its protective covering (myelin sheath), or both.

When this occurs, the nerve is unable to conduct sensory impulses to the brain appropriately, leading to confused signals to the brain.

These can manifest as numbness, pain or inability to move as the brain misinterprets the signals and locks muscles down.

Inflammation

This inflammation associated with the damage or injury can also cause pain or paresthesia (a tingling or prickling sensation) signals to be sent to the brain. In its early stages, many people may describe this sensation as a body part that has “fallen asleep.” However, if nerve inflammation persists, this sensation persists rather than resolving after a few minutes.

The important bit – how to treat it!

The treatment depends upon the location and the cause.

Resting the affected area is often very effective, especially in cases of injury caused by repetitive activities.

(Of note, although tennis elbow is a painful condition often associated with repetitive activities, the pain is caused by inflammation of the tendons of the elbow, not a pinched nerve)

Soft tissue therapy

Any form of Physical therapy such as physio, osteopathy and massage can be beneficial when a nerve is causing problems in the neck or lower back.

Exercises may strengthen the back or core muscles and decrease or eliminate pressure on a nerve root.

Medicate

Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and naproxen may be helpful.

Injections of corticosteroids (an anti-inflammatory medication) may also be beneficial for many types of pinched nerves.

 

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Nerve flossing

Is a relatively new technique that attempts to isolate the nerve and free it through movement.

Speak to your therapist to see if this technique would work for you!

Call Jason on 07980 339 864

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Taken from an original article here