Ouch – I think I’ve trapped a nerve

Often when a patient arrives at the clinic in pain, they fear that they have trapped a nerve. However, did you know that it’s extremely rare to truly trap a nerve?

Nerves have plenty of room to travel around the body. They don’t often become caught or trapped on their course from the brain, via the spinal cord, and out to the muscles and joints that they may innervate. But when they do, you’ll know about it!

What are the symptoms of a trapped nerve?

A trapped nerve usually gives rise to an extremely sharp pain, which can send shooting or electric shock sensations down the arm or leg. A trapped nerve in the arm/ wrist area can cause pins and needles or even numbness, such as in the case of carpal tunnel syndrome, which causes numbness and tingling in one or both hands.

Trapped nerve in your back

A common cause of a trapped nerve in the back is a disc problem. Sometimes the discs can bulge to such a degree that they trap the nerves of the neck or low back, giving rise to intense pain or strange sensation in the arm or leg, respectively.

How else can you get a trapped nerve?

Some people may develop severe arthritis over many years which can cause the bones of the spine to grow larger and trap or pinch nerves.

Nerves can also get trapped as they run their course down the arm or leg as they travel through muscles or under ligaments, which may be too tight, leading to pain and numbness or tingling.

How to find relief from a trapped nerve?

All of the above causes of true trapped nerves can be diagnosed and treated by a chiropractor or physiotherapist.

Each patient is different, but most commonly exercises to help free the nerve from the site of entrapment, or a gentle adjustment to the spine to free the nerve may help.

At the Waldegrave Clinic in Teddington we practice a multi disciplinary approach to treatment so it can often be the case that more than one discipline is used – I will often combine acupuncture with chiropractic for an effective, long term result.

The main thing is that if you are suffering any form of pain, try to get seen earlier rather than later. Just give the clinic a call on 020 8943 2424 and we can advise you whether you are best to see a chiropractor or physiotherapist first.

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