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Pinched Nerve

Pinched Nerve

Many people may have heard of a “pinched nerve” but what is it exactly?

Why does it cause pain and what can be done to help?

Most commonly a “pinched nerve” refers to pressure on a nerve in the spine of the neck or the lower back. The nerves start as microscopic cells in the brain or at the ends of the tissues like the skin, tendons or joints.They travel in and out of the brain through the spinal cord and enter the spinal cord as nerve roots.

A nerve is typically pinched if it exits the spine. Pinching can occur from a disc that is bulging or herniated, an overgrown joint or thickened ligament. This typically causes pain and symptoms that travel in very discrete patterns.For instance, a nerve pinched by a disc herniated at C5/6 on the right will nearly always cause pain, numbness and tingling into the thumb and index finger and sometimes weakness in the biceps of the arm or a particular forearm muscle.

The goals are to:

  1. Make sure you get an accurate diagnosis from a doctor to ensure this is a not a dangerous problem.
  2. Treat the pain and help you remain as functional as possible while you heal on your own.
  3. Help you develop a spine fitness program to prevent further occurrences in the future.

In rare cases, surgery will be needed but it should only be as a last resort or for special circumstances that permanently endanger your nerve function.

Back to spine conditions.

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