Tag Archives: pinched

Pinched Nerve in the Neck?


DRXC spinal decompression SFWe have been providing neck pain relief in San Francisco since 1992.

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

Eben Davis

I am a Chiropractor in the San Francisco Financial District specializing in chronic neck, arm and hand pain. I also treat herniated discs using spinal decompression, whiplash, sports injuries, headaches, and Fibromyalgia. My clinic is certified in the use of Deep Tissue Laser Therapy with the LiteCure LCT-1000 for conditions such as shoulder pain, TMJ and Plantar Fasciitis. I have been in practice for over 20 years.

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The Neck and Headache Connection

Headache clinic san franciscoWhen we hear the term headache, we don’t usually think about the neck. Rather, we focus on the head, more specifically, “…what part of the head hurts?” But, upon careful questioning of patients, our San Francisco Headache Doctors usually find some connection or correlation between neck pain and headaches.

The key to this connection can be found in looking at the anatomy of the neck. There are 7 vertebrae that make up the cervical spine and 8 sets of nerves that exit this part of the spine and innervate (connect to and control) various parts of the head, neck, shoulders and arms, all the way to the fingers. Think of the nerves as electric wires that stretch between a switch and a light bulb. When you flip on the switch, the light illuminates. Each nerve, as it exits the spine, is like a switch and the target it travels to represents the light bulb. So, if one were to stimulate each of the nerves as they exit the spine, we could “map” exactly where each nerve travels (of course, this has been done).  Cervical nerves and headaches
When we look specifically at the upper 3 sets of nerves that exit the spine (C1, C2, and C3), we see that as soon as they exit the spine, they immediately travel upwards into the head (the scalp). Like any nerve, if enough pressure is applied to the nerve, some alteration in nerve function occurs and usually a sensory change is noted (numbness, tingling, pain, burning, etc.). If the pressure continues, these symptoms can last for a long time. These types of headaches are often called “cervicogenic headaches” (literally meaning headaches that are caused by the neck). These can be caused by the nerves getting pinched by tight muscles through which they travel as they make their way to the scalp.

Forward head postureThese muscles are usually tight in people that spend the majority of their day in front of a computer…especially if they have developed Forward Head Posture.

Another connection between the neck and headaches includes the relationship between 2 of the 12 cranial nerves and the first three nerves in the neck described above. These types of headaches usually only affect one half of the head – the left or right side. One of the cranial nerves is called the trigeminal nerve (cranial nerve V). Because the trigeminal nerve innervates parts of the face and head, pain can also involve the face. Another cranial nerve (spinal accessory, cranial nerve IX) can also interact with the upper 3 cervical nerve roots, resulting in cervicogenic headaches. People with cervicogenic headaches will often present with an altered neck posture, restricted neck movement, and pain when pressure is applied to the base of the skull or to the upper vertebrae. Other than a possible numbness, there are no clinical tests that we can run to “show” this condition, though some patients may report scalp numbness or, it may be found during examination.

Though medication, injections, and even surgical options exist, manipulation applied to the small joints of the neck, especially in the upper part where C1-3 exit, works really well so why not try that first as it’s the least invasive and, VERY EFFECTIVE! In some cases, a combination of approaches may be needed but many times, chiropractic treatment is all the patient needs for a successful outcome.

 We realize that you have a choice in where you choose your healthcare services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for neck pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

To schedule an appointment with one of our headache specialists in San Francisco, call 415-392-2225. Mention this blog post for a complimentary consultation.

Eben Davis

I am a Chiropractor in the San Francisco Financial District specializing in chronic neck, arm and hand pain. I also treat herniated discs using spinal decompression, whiplash, sports injuries, headaches, and Fibromyalgia. My clinic is certified in the use of Deep Tissue Laser Therapy with the LiteCure LCT-1000 for conditions such as shoulder pain, TMJ and Plantar Fasciitis. I have been in practice for over 20 years.

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