People may say they have a “pinched nerve” when they are suffering pain from an unidentified source. It may actually be caused by spinal subluxations, a tunnel syndrome, the referred pain from trigger points, or something else.
So-called pinched nerves are more usually just irritated or inflamed because the bones, joints, or muscles of the spine are not in their proper position, or not moving correctly. This condition is the aforementioned “subluxation”, which the doctor of chiropractic specializes in correcting.
Those times when nerves do genuinely become “pinched” include Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Sciatica, and Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. These involve an injury, spasm, or inflammation that causes the surrounding muscles and connective tissue to compress the nerve, resulting in pain. These conditions are called “tunnel syndromes”, and although the chiropractic treatment of these is more complex than dealing with a simple spinal subluxation, they usually respond very well, especially when combined with exercises, stretching, and massage, etc.
Trigger points are very small and tight “knots” in the fibers of the muscle that form when the muscles become chronically overworked or injured. Pain from trigger points very often refers to other parts of the body that may seem wholly unrelated to the source. Trigger points can be successfully treated by a combination of chiropractic care, stretching, and a precise deep tissue massage known as “trigger point therapy”.
Pain of any sort must be properly diagnosed before it can be effectively treated, especially when it is the nerves that are affected. Otherwise the nerve may end up being permanently damaged. Being told by your doctor that you have a “pinched nerve” should not be viewed as a diagnosis; only as an indication that further investigation by a doctor of chiropractic is required as soon as possible.