What is a pinched nerve?
A pinched nerve can also be referred to as a slipped disc, prolapsed disc, bulging disc, ruptured disc, or even degenerative disc disease. They’re all essentially the same thing; it just depends on who you’re talking to. The most commonly used terms are herniated disc or bulging disc.
Technically, a pinched nerve does not have to be associated with a disc – a muscle or other structures can pinch a nerve just as well. Classic examples of this are Piriformis Syndrome and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
What causes a pinched nerve?
The two most common reasons for a pinched nerve are a herniated disc and muscle imbalances, both of which are the result of “postural dysfunctions.” These dysfunctions put abnormal pressure on the disc that will cause increased wear and tear over time. Eventually, the weak spot will give way and make contact with the nerve, bringing you pain.
If your pinched nerve is not due to a disc-related problem, understand that muscle imbalances can change the position and the pull of muscles. When this happens, these muscles – as well as other structures – can put abnormal pressure on the nerve (or pinching it) and cause pain.
It is important to understand that the neither the pinching nor the increased pressure on a nerve happen overnight. You may be come symptomatic very quickly, but it takes a long time before conditions are right for the nerve to be put under enough pressure to cause pain.
What are pinched nerve symptoms?
The majority of the complaints range from local pain to radiating pain. Depending on where the herniation is, you may experience arm pain or leg pain.
Loss of bowel or bladder control is deemed a medical emergency, so you should get to the emergency room as quickly as possible if either of these things happen to you.
What are the most common pinched nerve treatments?
The most common treatments are cortisone injections, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), hot packs, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and therapeutic exercises.
There are more than a handful of surgical procedures for a herniated disc, all of which have two main goals: to take pressure off the nerve and stabilize the joints.
Why do traditional pinched nerve treatments fail?
Most traditional treatments fail because they simply address the symptoms and fail to address the cause of the condition. Your herniated disc is a physical problem, and it requires a physical solution. There are no pills or injections that can create postural balance in your body, which is what is necessary to reduce the pressure on the nerve.
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Updated: May 12,2011