One of the most common causes of neck, shoulder, arm, and hand pain is a “pinched nerve in the neck”. A pinched nerve is medical terminology (formerly doctor slang) for pressure on a nerve or nerve compression.
Here is how the Mayo Clinic defines a Pinched Nerve:
A pinched nerve occurs when too much pressure is applied to a nerve by
surrounding tissues — such as bones, cartilage, muscles or tendons. This
pressure disrupts the nerve’s function, causing pain, tingling,
numbness or weakness.
A pinched nerve can occur at several sites in your body. A herniated
disk in your lower spine, for example, may put pressure on a nerve root,
causing pain that radiates down the back of your leg (sciatica).
Likewise, a pinched nerve in your wrist can lead to pain and numbness in
your hand and fingers (carpal tunnel syndrome).
Me: A pinched nerve in the neck is usually the result of a herniated or bulging cervical disc, vertebral subluxation (misalignment), degenerative disc disease, facet syndrome, or moderate to severe sprain/strain from say a whiplash or sports injury (think football). This can happen all at once from a trauma or slowly over time from sitting in an awkward position at your workstation, poor sleeping habits (flat pillow with no support), or hobby’s like bowling, playing a musical instrument, knitting, or gardening.
These days, just about everyone spends a lot of time on the computer. Our chiropractic clinic is located in the SF Financial District so almost all our patients sit at a desk for very long hours performing repetitive tasks with the upper extremities on the computer. Many then go home and do more of the same. And a very high percentage of these people already had misalignments in the neck from years of school, studying, sports and life. The stress of working at the computer all day is just another layer of the onion that can accelerate the degnerative process and lead to pinched cervical nerves.
So, what can be done to prevent pinched nerves from happening and what is the best treatment once they do happen?
Well, I am a chiropractor, and I specialize in the treatment of neck, arm, and hand pain. So my opinion is biased owards chiropractic care and nonsurgical spinal decompression. Of course, most of the patients I treat are already experiencing pain and dysfunction. So, our primary focus is to treat the problem and get some relief. We do this using a combination of chiropractic adjustments to the neck, shoulder, arms and hands. We incorporate massage and stretching into the mix, as well as custom low tech exercises. If needed, we use deep tissue laser therapy to reduce inflammation and pain levels.
If a pinched nerve is due to a herniated or bulging disc and the patient does not respond to conventional chiropractic as described above than we will consider cervical spinal decompression with the DRX9000c. The DRX9000c is designed and built to treat cervical disc herniations naturally.
Sometimes we use a combination of everything we have to achieve favorable outcomes. Our 20years+ experience comes in handy when it comes to making decisions on pinched nerve treatment.
Along side the treatment we teach our patients how to prevent what we treat by making better lifestyle choices. Education on things like ergonomics, sleeping postures, nutrition, supplements, exercise/stretching, meditation and relaxation techniques are some of the things we weave into the treatment process.
If you would like to find out if you are a candidate for treatment at our San Francisco Chiropractic Clinic please call 415-392-2225. Ask for a complimentary consultation.
By Eben Davis