As you get older, pinched nerves are becoming more and more common. Back in the days you could probably just brush it off and get on with your day. But now after you had injuries or spent years in a sitting job, pinched nerves happen more frequently, last longer and noticeably interfere with your life. If you are looking for a solution for your pinched nerve problem, consider therapeutic massage. In our Towson, Maryland wellness center, we often recommend massage, along with acupuncture, as one of the treatments for a pinched nerve, because we’ve seen it work many times.
What is a pinched nerve?
A pinched nerve is actually an injury to the nerve, which can take a form of compression, constriction and even stretching. A pinched nerve may result from a sports injury, a workplace injury or even a harmless situation like sleeping in a wrong position. As you probably know, nerves in our bodies travel through our spine and then branch out into our arms, legs and every part of our body. It’s possible for a nerve to get pinched as it leaves the spine through tiny openings. Some common causes of a pinched nerve include:
- Herniated disks expand and start pushing against the nerve.
- Compressed vertebrae can pinch a nerve when disks wear out with age.
- Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the space inside your spine where the nerves are located) can squeeze the nerves enough to cause damage.
- Any type of bone growth from arthritis or other diseases may lead to a pinched nerve
Some people are more likely to suffer from pinched nerves than others. For example, people who have bad posture, tend to constantly lean on their elbows or perform repetitive activities are at a higher risk of developing pinched nerves. Other risk factors include weight gain or water retention due to thyroid disease or pregnancy.
Symptoms of a pinched nerve in your neck
When a nerve is pinched, its membrane is impacted, which causes the nerve to lose some of its ability to transmit electrical impulses from the brain. This may lead to a variety of symptoms, including:
- Numbness through the arm down to the thumb
- Tingling sensation in your shoulder or arm
- Burning or hot/cold sensation in your neck
- Muscular spasms
- Light to sever pain when you move your head a certain way
- Overall weakness or loss of sensation in the arm
Most people 50 and older have a certain degree of nerve damage caused by worn-out disks between the neck vertebrae. However, not everyone experiences pain or discomfort—some people feel nothing at all.
Why you shouldn’t ignore pinched nerves
A pinched nerve is generally a temporary condition that often resolves on its own in a few days. However, if you are experiencing persistent pain or discomfort, don’t take it lightly. You could be at risk of permanent nerve damage if a nerve is crushed or compressed for a long time. In severe cases, a surgery may be required to relieve the pressure on the nerve, but there is no guarantee it will make you pain-free again. If you get a pinched nerve, talk to your physician to properly diagnose your symptoms. On early stages, therapeutic massage and acupuncture can be used to relieve your pain and discomfort.
How massage helps with pinched nerves
When a pinched nerve doesn’t go away no matter how many hot baths you take, it’s time to look into massage therapy. Unlike acupuncture, deep-tissue massage therapy addresses the affected area directly by relaxing the tight muscles and resolving knots. On the other hand, the trigger point massage therapy acts similar to acupuncture by locating and stimulating trigger points inside muscles that trigger pain in other parts of the body. It aims to find the source, which may not always be where the pain manifests itself. Depending on the type and location of the pain you are experiencing, your wellness practitioner may recommend massage, acupuncture or both.
Have more questions about pinched nerves? Contact Cara-Michele today to request a free consultation and finally address your pain and discomfort.