Anyone who has suffered from a trapped nerve will know how painful and debilitating it is. A trapped nerve happens when pressure is put on the nerves by the surrounding tissues, such as bones, cartilage, muscles or tendons. This can take place in several areas of the body and affects how the nerve functions. It often causes sharp shooting pains, tingling, pins and needles, numbness and weakness.
Although you can develop trapped nerves in other parts of the body, most people complain of trapped nerves in the neck or lower back.
Some common causes of trapped nerves are:
- Bulging disc – When your disc is bulging it can compress a nearby nerve affecting the signals to the body
- Trauma or injury – Having a trauma or injury may result in constriction, compression or stretching to a set of nerves near your spine
- Herniated disc – This often occurs due to ageing, wear or tear or a defect in your vertebrae
- Spinal stenosis – This is a condition where the space around your spinal cord becomes narrow and compressed
- Osteoarthritis – This causes loss of cartilage, and it also can cause formation of bone spurs that can pinch the nerves as they leave the spinal column
- Rheumatoid arthritis – This condition results in inflammation of the joint and ultimately degeneration including pinched nerves
When you see your physiotherapist, they will do a full examination to determine your condition. They will look at:
- Your range of motion
- Your reflexes in your legs and arms
- Weakness in your muscles
- Balance issues
These tests will determine which nerves are being irritated and where they are getting pinched. If your physiotherapist is unsure about their findings, they may suggest you see your doctor who can refer you for an Xray or an MRI scan to help make or confirm the diagnosis.
Your doctor may recommend a course of physiotherapy before they refer you to have more invasive procedures done, like a spinal injection or in more severe cases, surgery.
How can physiotherapy help?
A physiotherapist can help you target the symptoms caused by your trapped nerve and provide you with a programme of hands on treatment as well as stretches and exercises that will help relieve your pain.
Hands on treatment includes:
Exercises may include:
- Stretching the nerves
- Gliding the nerves
- Core stability exercises
- General strengthening
Your physiotherapist will also monitor your progress and will increase your exercise programme as you become more able, to not only help you in the present, but to help avoid the pain coming back. If treated promptly and effectively, most pinched nerves can be treated well and symptoms will resolve within a matter of weeks.
Please call Home Physio Group on 0330 335 1016 to find out how we can help you recover quickly.