What is the Best Way
to Treat a Pinched Nerve?

by: Dr. Steven Shoshany

Nerve pain can be even worse than pain that is localized around an injury. Localized pain, or pain at the site of an injury, that is directly related to a wound or trauma is usually simpler to treat.

Whether it's injury to a muscle, skin, bone or even inflammation from a chronic overuse injury, applying techniques like RICE (Rest Ice Compression Elevation) or using local pain relievers and oral NSAIDs (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), or even injections to the site of the injury can provide almost immediate relief or at the very least reduce pain to manageable levels.

Best Way to Treat a Pinched Nerve / Muscular Pain:

Most people don't know that there is a difference between types of pain, or that the location of pain can vary depending on the site or nature of the injury. Muscular injuries cause pain around the site of the injury.

An overworked muscle may become inflamed and ache from activity, and feel light and tender, like when someone goes running too often and doesn't get enough rest to allow the muscle to recover.

Usually this type of pain is easily treatable with some use of NSAIDs, rest and making sure that the muscle is strengthened and allowed to properly adapt to the exercise regimen.

Best Way to Treat a Pinched Nerve / Radiating Pain:

Pain that is not localized, or pain that radiates down from the site of an injury, such as pain resulting from a pinched nerve caused by a disc bulge in the spine is not easily treated by simply resting and using RICE and NSAIDs alone. Pain that radiates out can be caused by a pinched nerve, so if a nerve is impinged or irritated, pain may occur along the path of the nerve instead or a muscle or bone.

For example, if someone injures their shoulder by falling on it or from a sports related injury, like football, the brachial plexus nerves may experience pain radiating all along the arm and not just in the shoulder. Sometimes a nerve can be irritated by a muscle, such as the sciatic nerve, which runs along the buttocks and can become irritated by the piriformis muscle.

In this case, the pain can radiate along the buttocks, hamstring and into the lower leg; this is essentially known as piriformis syndrome. Treating muscular nerve impingement is often done by using massage, stretching and physical therapy, along with some use of NSAIDs to help reduce pain and relax the muscle.

Best Way to Treat a Pinched Nerve /  Herniated Discs:

It's common knowledge that most people will suffer from a back injury over the course of their lives. Lower back injuries are also the most common injury and account for about 30% of injuries to the body. Lower back injuries can also be the most debilitating.

We've all heard stories from someone we know about not being able to move, and excruciating pain that can lead to long periods of inactivity and a huge reduction in the quality of life and activities of daily living.

A disc bulge or the herniation of the nucleus material inside the disc can irritate nerves when they bulge out from between the intervertebral discs. Sciatica is a fairly common symptom of a nerve being irritated or impinged. Sciatic nerve pain can run all the way down the leg and cause a great deal of pain.

Best Way to Treat a Pinched Nerve / Treatments:

Chiropractic: Using a regimen of adjustments, chiropractors help release soft tissue and adjust / align the physical structures of the spine to remove interference with the nervous system and relieve pain and allow the body to heal itself.

Decompression: Non surgical spinal decompression using the DRX9000 (that's the machine employed at the Living Well Medical offices) uses linear traction to treat herniated, torn (for example an annular tear), and bulging discs, and has a great track record of success. Through a series of pulling and relaxing, this highly specialized machine treats pain and discomfort gently, without any pain, and without invasive surgery or drugs.

Cox Technique: The Cox technique is great for patients who may be unable to go through normal decompression. It's a simple, gentle technique with plenty of solid research backing it up and receives regular funding from the government.

Physical Therapy: When a patient is able to advance to the physical therapy phase of their treatment protocol they learn stretches and exercise routines developed specifically for their condition. Physical therapy is a big part of the treatment protocol including, but not limited to, piriformis syndrome, herniated discs, sciatica, and bulging discs.

Learn more about Steven Shoshany DC and his NYC chiropractic practice

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